TRAVELERS REST, SC – You often hear them before you see them.
Every Spring bees swarm people’s properties and build their hives, but honey bee keepers say don’t spray.
“It’s something that we need to pay attention to,” said Tim Dover, of The Carolina Honey Bee Company in Travelers Rest. “It’s like the canary in the coal mine. If the honey bee’s go, we’re going to have an issue.”
Honey bees, which have been on the decline for years, are credited with pollinating fruits and vegetables.
According to Dover, about 2/3 of what we eat is dependent on that pollination.
“In fact if we didn’t have honey bees, things that you wouldn’t expect would be a lot more expensive and rare. Things like beef, without honey bees, we need honey bee’s to pollinate the alfalfa for the food lots,” Dover said.
Efforts across the country are underway to save the bees.
The largest concentration of bee keepers in South Carolina is in the Upsate, with farms in several counties, Dover said.
“They’re not very aggressive. They’re not going to attack you for walking by or anything like that. They just want to be left alone,” Dover said.
He described honey bees as oftentimes fuzzy, opposed to yellow jackets which have a leather appearance.
Before spraying or trying to kill a hive, Dover said people should call a local bee keeper. They will likely remove them from a home for free.
“If you see a swarm hanging in a tree, don’t be afraid, don’t be threatened. Call a bee keeper, or call me. We’ll have somebody come out and catch that swarm and take it away in a safe way that won’t hurt anybody,” he said.