Being a child whose grandfather raised bees mere feet from my swing and play area in his back yard, my feelings on the subject were probably strong than others. This is the letter I wrote to my local newspaper.
First, allow me to thank the Webster County Citizen for keep us all informed on the goings on at the city meetings. Though I’m sure we would all like to have our voice heard, many of us have schedules that simply don’t allow us to attend the meetings.My purpose of writing is to comment on the December 16 article titled “Attorney: Residents Anti-Bee.”
While I commend attorney Swatosh for his valiant effort to defend his client; for him to state “My opinion is the opinion of this community… you’re not going to listen to the people of the city who elected you” is quite false in my own humble opinion.I have lived in this town for fourteen years and before that live nearby in Fordland. I vote in all the elections and I take an interest in improving this community.
My opinion on the bees is this; we need them.
According to the United States Department of Agriculture, bee pollination is responsible for $15 billion in added crop value, particularly for specialty crops such as almonds and other nuts, berries, fruits, and vegetables. About one mouthful in three directly or indirectly benefits from honeybee pollination.Yet, sadly, honey bee numbers are drastically declining. Some states are already having to implement hand pollination of crops because there simply aren’t enough bees.
While gathering pollen and nectar, bees cross-pollinate flowers and allow or improve the production of seeds and fruit. Economically, honeybees are more valuable as pollinators than as honey producers. In many areas, farmers have been forced to rent more than one million colonies each year to pollinate crops valued at more than $10 billion. Unlike other pollinating insects, bees can be easily moved to agricultural fields where crops need to be pollinated.Establishing healthy hives in this area would not only positively impact our area crops, but they may become a necessity to large farms all over America where bee habitats have dried up and the bees have moved on.
In addition to the pollination of flowers and crops by bees, they also contribute indirectly through the pollination of clover, shown as a nitrogen regeneration source for the land we farm. According to the National Bee Association, this benefits our meat export industry through livestock production and sale.
Now, I’m sure you’re wondering, what makes me such an expert on the subject of bees? Well I wouldn’t call myself an expert, but I would tell you that my grandfather raised bees when I was young. He kept three large hives roughly a hundred yards from his backdoor on his little farm.When this bee situation came up, I asked my grandmother (who is a resident of Seymour, votes in all the elections and is in favor of the bees as well Attorney Swatosh), if she remembers if she or any of us kids were stung because of the bee hives. She said we weren’t. She kept abundant flower beds in the backyard where we played, and while bees did fly from flower to flower, they left us be. That was thousands upon thousands of bees mere feet from where I played on a daily basis, yet we were never stung.
In visiting with the parents while waiting to pick my kids up from school, they stated their main concern is the children. Yes, the property in question is roughly a mile north of the elementary school. It is cut off by a large highway with heavy traffic.On average, honey bees travel roughly a three mile radius from the hive (doing more would use up too much of their resources because it would require them to eat more). Seeing as, the lands north of the hive would be rich with crops, wildflowers and flowering trees, the bees would naturally be pulled north to the food rich area. This would, in turn, keep them further from the schools and residential areas.
Additionally, only worker bees sting; and only when you are engaging the hive or they feel threatened (like someone taking a fly swatter to it).
So to wrap up this extremely long letter, I just want to say this. Just because the city meetings aren’t full of people doesn’t mean we do not care. And Attorney Swatosh, you may wish to check with more than a few citizen before saying that you speak for all of Seymour’s voters.To the citizens of Seymour, I simply say this. Inform yourself. Don’t take the word of anyone, even myself for that matter. Do your research and see the pros and cons of something before forming an opinion. It is up to us to see Seymour become a home for our children and grandchildren. Let’s not let it dwindle into nothing.