It’s National Pollinator Week


June 21, 2017 

 

This week is National Pollinator Week, dedicated to promoting and protecting pollinators and their ecosystems.  Pollinators – bees, wasps, butterflies, and others -  are critical to our food supply and help flowers reproduce and thrive.

 

Florida’s lush, diverse landscapes and abundance of year-round blooms, as well as, the sweet drinks and foods inherent with a theme park create the ideal setting for bees to take up residence.  Most bee swarms in central Florida are automatically considered dangerous, removed and often destroyed by pest control operators. Unfortunately large populations of beneficial honey bees are also destroyed.

 

But at SeaWorld Orlando, Aquatica and Discovery Cove, horticulture experts are using a very different approach to bee management.  Starting in 2014, horticulturists began attracting honey bee swarms to swarm buckets (that simulate a natural tree cavity) away from guests and team members, in an effort to save and relocate the bees.  The goal was simple: minimize the risk to humans and animals while still allowing bees to continue their important pollination work.

 

In addition to relocating the bees, if needed, swarm queen bees are replaced with more docile European honey bee queens, in a process called “re-queening.” This changing of the queens results in a colony that is much less defensive, and contributes to better honey bee genetics.

 

The relocated hives are ultimately removed by a registered beekeeper, who manages the colony from that point forward.  Since the project started in July 2014, 57 honey bee swarms – more than 1 million bees - have been saved and relocated off park property.

 

SeaWorld San Antonio recently started a similar project, partnering with a local beekeeper to remove and preserve swarms at all three parks.

 

 

Benefits of SeaWorld’s Honey Bee and Pollinator Conservation Program:

 

·         Honey bees are being relocated - not killed - contributing to worldwide bee and pollinator conservation efforts.

 

·         Enhanced safety for guests, animals and team ambassadors.

 

·         Better honey bee genetics through the re-queening process.

 

·         Educating team members and guests to the problems and solutions of long term honey bee and pollinator conservation.

 

·         Using raw honey and propolis (the resinous mixture produced by bees as a sealant for open spaces in the hive) to help heal fractured turtle shells, skin lacerations in birds, and boat strike wounds in manatees.

 

 

What can you do to help pollinators?

Start a Garden  - You don’t need a large, time-consuming garden to create a habitat for pollinators. Start small and grow what will keep you Include interested in gardening.   Even if you don’t have land, you can grow almost anything in container gardens.

Create a diverse habitat, which provides for a greater multitude of pollinators Hydrate - Ensure there is a water supply for pollinators in your garden.

Join the SeaWorld Action Team


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