Coppell Education Center showcases importance of bees to give agriculture, food, and medicine

Many people associate bees with stings, but the striped yellow insects are an important part of our food supply. Bee hobbyist Bruce Crozier spoke about the “Benefits of Bees” at the Biodiversity Education Center in Coppell on Saturday, Jan. 20.

Bees pollinate plant, create honey, bee’s wax (used for candles, medication, and make up among other things.) Even their venom, which people fear, is used in the treatment of arthritis and other diseases.

“We need the bees,” Crozier said. “That is the fundamental story. Without the bees, we’re not going to be around very long.”

Bees have far more to fear from us than we do from them. The insects face a number of dangers from pesticides, insecticides, and diseases. According to Crozier, many farmers now self-pollinate their crops, because of a shortage of wild bees. While self-pollinating is just as effective as bee pollinating, it is far less efficient and far more expensive.

“Honey bees have been developed for large crop pollinations,” said Jan Hodson, a master naturalist.

While many people who attended the lecture voiced an interest in becoming more involved in bee preservation efforts.

“It’s really good to get all these little hobby beekeepers going to pollinate people’s gardens and plants in their area,” Hodson said.

“Having him answer questions about some of the simplicities of [hobby beekeeping] was definitely encouraging,” Coppell resident Lynette Noles said.

“I think it’s very important to get the word out that honey bees are endangered, and people can do things to help that situation,” Crozier said.

Crozier has been a beekeeper for three years and is part of the Collin County Hobby Beekeepers Association.

In addition to the common factors that have caused the decline in bee population, certain events have caused mass bee deaths. On Jan. 19, 2018, the Sioux City Journal reported a honey farm in Sioux City, Iowa had been vandalized, which caused the deaths of 500,000 bees.

According to Crozier, events like this are not common and the bigger threat to bees are diseases.

“That’s so rare,” Crozier said. “The kind of vandalism you typically see is kids who kick a hive just to see what happens. They’re not going to do damage to more than a couple of hives before the bees tell them not to ever do that again.”

The event was part of the Friends of Coppell Nature Park Lecture series that occurs on the third Saturday of every month.