Save the Bees: Importance of Pest Control that Saves Native PollinatorsReading time: 8 minutes
Pollinators like bees, wasps, butterflies, and even bats are critical to a healthy ecosystem. Pollen Partnership Canada reports that pollinators are responsible for half the world’s oil, fibre, and other raw materials used to produce foods and consumer goods. This includes canola oil, tree and berry fruits, squash, and melons.
According to a recent report from the Canadian Association of Professional Apiculturists, the 2021-2022 honey bee wintering loss was the highest recorded in the last 20 years, with Alberta losing an astonishing 51% of their colonies. CBC News reports that the culprits are a blend of climate change, increased use of harmful herbicides and pesticides, and monoculture farming.
With bees declining in every province, protecting pollinators, especially those in danger, is imperative. Here’s how Buzz Boss’ professional pest control services are safe and beneficial for pollinators and how we can help keep insects and other pests away from your home.
Understanding the Impact of Harmful Pest Control on Pollinators
In 2012, Health Canada's Pest Management Regulatory Agency (PMRA) was called to investigate an alarming increase in honey bee mortalities, most of which occurred in the corn-growing areas of Quebec and Ontario. Residue analysis testing revealed the same pesticides used to treat the nearby corn in a staggering 80% of the reported bee yards.
This establishes a clear link between the use of pesticides and honey bee mortality. Only one sample out of the multiple collected from unaffected yards had a low level of pesticides, driving home the point that pesticides – neonicotinoids, to be exact – are hazardous and lethal for helpful bee populations and other pollinators.
Canadian news outlet CTV reports that the loss of pollinators has already caused a worldwide 3-5% decrease in vegetable, fruit, and nut production. The lack of healthy food is estimated to cause 427,000 preventable premature deaths yearly from stroke, heart disease, diabetes, and cancer.
But pesticides also play an essential role in cultivating that same healthy food. Agricultural awareness initiative CropLife Canada offers insight into how much more farmers can grow, indicating that pesticides enable 72% more fruit to be produced each year, 42% more grains, and 83% more vegetables. Fresh vegetables and fruit would cost 45% more without pesticides than they do now.
That’s why it’s so important to work with a professional pest control expert like the technicians at Buzz Boss, who can custom-tailor a program that maximizes efficacy while reducing as much risk as possible.
The Ecological Importance of Pollinators
Seeds of Diversity suggests that if pollinators were to become extinct, the world would no longer be able to produce crops of vegetables, fruits, and other foods. In the United States alone, bees are responsible for pollinating $14 billion worth of crops – and Canada faces a similar fate the more pollinators decrease across the region.
“Save the bees” might sound like a tired, old cliche, but protecting pollinators protects the entire ecosystem and everything in it, including you.
There is hope with the rise of IPM and environmentally conscious pest control that uses pollinator-safe pesticides and other non-harmful methods.
Embracing Pollinator-Friendly Pest Control Products
It can feel like a vast undertaking to think about the best ways to manage insects around your home without endangering nearby bees or damaging bee homes. But you’re not alone.
Many people are intimidated by problematic pests, so applying an insecticide often seems the easiest solution. Fortunately, many options for pest control don't harm pollinators, like:
Natural Predators and Biological Control
One way to control bee populations around your home without using chemical pesticides is with biological control. This means taking advantage of natural predators and repellants to discourage bees from residing in your area. A wide variety of animals and other insects feed on bees, including certain species of birds, varroa mites, badgers, raccoons, and crab spiders.
Depending on where you live and the level of bee infestation you’re dealing with, it may be beneficial to introduce or protect animals that feed on bees in your area. Bees will be discouraged from setting up camps with a larger density of their natural predators. This encourages them to build their hives away from your home.
You can also use plants, oils, and other biological control methods to make your space less appealing to honey bees, carpenter bees, wasps, and other stinging pollinators that you don’t want around. For example, planting mint, basil, or eucalyptus around your house can discourage bees from coming near. You can also plant flowers and flowering trees or shrubs at the farthest edge of your property to encourage bees to fly there instead.
Integrated Pest Management (IPM) Strategies
Integrated Pest Management, or IPM, is a pest control method that uses all available strategies to manage pests in an environmentally safe and effective way. It involves studying the surrounding ecosystem and its creatures so you can devise ways to deter pests from your area without causing preventable harm to important animals, insects, or the environment.
The IPM Council of Canada stresses the importance of IPM in modern pest control. They strive to make this approach to pest management the standard for landscaping, lawn care, and public vegetation control across the nation to minimize the need for potentially harmful pesticides.
Plant-Based Pest Repellents
Plant-based pest repellents are an excellent option for keeping bees away from you while you’re working or playing outside.
The Government of Canada provides a list of the most effective natural oils that help protect against insects, which includes lemon, eucalyptus, pine needle, geranium, and camphor oil. These can be used in lotions, sprays, candles, and other items that can be used on or near the body to deter bees and other stinging insects.
Targeted and Reduced-Risk Pesticides
According to Human Rights Watch, Canada has taken the initiative to decrease or eliminate the use of pesticides, issuing a 3-year phase-out plan for the dangerous chemical chlorpyrifos, an organophosphate insecticide used to kill pests in soil and on foliage. Chlorpyrifos has been associated with headaches, dizziness, confusion, disruption of the endocrine system, neurodevelopmental disorders, ADHD, and some types of cancer.
Reduced-risk pesticides can help farmers and homeowners keep insects at bay without posing as much of a threat to humans, animals, or the surrounding ecosystem. For example, pesticides made from the potassium salts of fatty acids have a relatively low toxicity when ingested but have been proven effective against many insects.
According to the Canadian Center of Science and Education, applying potassium salts to snap bean crops reduced white flies and thrips by 54%. The number of pest-damaged pea pods decreased by 76%, while healthy pods increased by 112%. Other lower-risk pesticides have similar data sets, demonstrating equal or better efficacy than traditional and more harmful pesticides.
The Environmental Benefits of Pollinator-Friendly Pest Control
There are numerous environmental benefits of using pollinator-safe pest control methods, like:
Preserving Biodiversity and Ecosystem Balance
Using pollinator-safe pest control methods is essential for preserving the delicate balance of the ecosystem around you. Healthy biodiversity is necessary for all life, and it’s vital to learn how to discourage pests in and around your home without causing harm to beneficial populations of insects.
Protecting Water and Soil Quality
Chemical pesticides don’t just harm insects – they’re toxic to humans and pets, too. The effects just may not be as strong and as immediate.
Additionally, when it rains, or plants and trees are watered, these chemicals run off and soak into the ground, where they can contaminate other crops and municipal water supplies.
By choosing pollinator-friendly pest control solutions, you also protect the soil and water quality around your home and community.
Empowering Responsible Consumer Choices
Saving the bees comes down to individual and company choices daily. Consumers can help protect pollinators and food crops by electing to use pollinator-safe pesticides or alternative pest control methods and encouraging others to do the same.
Educating the Public about Pollinator Protection
Many people aren’t knowledgeable about the importance of pollinators in Canada and why you should use bee-safe pest control methods that don’t pose a risk to helpful wild bee populations.
Sharing this information is key to helping residents make responsible choices when treating their yards and gardens for insects, which benefits everyone in that area.
When residents learn about and work together to protect pollinators, they can reap the many benefits of encouraging native bees, butterflies, bats, and other wild creatures to flourish.
Why Use Professional Pest Control to Protect Bee Populations
Professional pest control services are integral to protecting your home, family, and outdoor spaces. As a homeowner, you likely have multiple goals when investing in insect management, and these goals are easier to reach with the support of trained professionals.
Working with experts in the field allows you to pick their brains, taking advantage of their:
- In-depth training and knowledge of local pests and other insect populations.
- Experience with a wide variety of equipment that’s hard to source or expensive.
- Understanding IPM and other practices that make outdoor spaces safer for you, your family, and helpful insect populations.
- Access to products that treat your property while remaining low impact.
Instead of doing everything on your own, you have the support of a team that understands the best way to apply treatments. A good pest control service will have licensed and certified professionals on the team who understand how to efficiently treat the outside of your home while avoiding damage to the surrounding ecosystem.
This information can be valuable when you aren’t an expert on the industry or the best ways to nurture the native bees near you. Keeping these populations thriving is essential to a beautiful landscape at your home and mitigating other environmental issues.
Big box stores or larger companies that create pesticides are far less likely to consider what’s important to you and tend to generate chemical mixes that can risk long-term effects to your area. Instead, a local pest control company will offer personalized solutions that work with the types of plants and insects you have near you.
Buzz Boss is Your Eco-Friendly Pest Control Partner
Buzz Boss uses bee-safe pest control methods to help deter unwanted insects from your yard and garden, making your outdoor space more comfortable for relaxing.
Contact us today to learn how we can protect you, your family, and your property from mosquitoes, wasps, hornets, ants, spiders, and ticks without disrupting the beneficial life cycles of bees and other pollinating insects.