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Extreme Heat is Killing Honeybees and Their Homes

10 months ago
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Save the bees! You've likely heard this phrase plenty of times, and maybe even acted upon advocacy for the movement. The importance of honeybees extend farther than just wanting to avoid another species extinction.

Honeybees are a vital species to our ecosystem - food production in particular. According to the National Resource Defense Council, if bees were go extinct, it wouldn't be the end for humanity, however it would cause our diets to extremely suffer, the variety of foods - such as almonds, coffee, apples, avocados, onions, and berries - would become very rare or even disappear, and the cost of certain products would sky rocket.

You can do all you can for the movement, but now there's another obstacle in the way of saving the bees.

Extreme Heat and Honeybees

Entomologists continue to grow concerned with the increasing amount of dead honeybees as deadly, ruthless heat burns through Arizona.

From June 30-July 30th, Phoenix hit 110 + degrees - breaking records for the most consecutive days of this heat. Forecasters reported this month as the hottest on record for any US city.

An entomologist with the University of Arizona, Shaku Nair stated, "It's a very major concern. Honeybees can forage up to 113 degrees. As of July, we've had many days over 113 degrees, so bees are taking a bad hit right now."

Cricket Aldridge, a Phoenix-based bee keeper, reported, "Bees' homes are being melted....Other bee colonies are attacking honeybee colonies due to food scarcity."

A mixture of very extreme heat and no water can cause beehives to melt because they cool down with evaporation, reported Dan Winter, President of the American Beekeeping Foundation.

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Honeybees Battle the Heat

Nair explains that honeybees are using their wings and water to attempt to cool down their hives, and to keep their eggs, larvae, and pupae alive, the hive must maintain a temperature between 92 and 104 degrees. With the temperatures so high in Arizona right now, there's not much the honeybees can do for themselves or their hive.

The relentless Arizona heat is causing flowers to wilt and saguaro cactuses to die, leaving not much food for the honeybees to forage.

What Can You Do?

While the honeybees battle for their lives and their hives, Winter says that you can help by putting water out for bees because they can typically do well as long as they have water. You can also help by maintaining a more native plant species.



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