Ask the Entomologist Preventing Ticks

Ask the Entomologist: Bee and Pollinator FAQs

As you know, we at Mosquito Authority love bees almost as much as we dislike mosquitoes! We train our Specialists to only treat areas where mosquitoes live and hang out, and to avoid blooming foliage where pollinators reside. Our founder, Joey Osborne, is a beekeeper, as are many of our franchisees and customers, and there are no reported ill effects even though we treat within 10 feet of active, healthy, backyard hives.

Dr. Craig Stoops, our resident Entomologist, helps answer some of our commonly-asked questions about pollinators we see in our yards.

What types of pollinators besides bees will I typically see in my yard?

Many types of insects will pollinate flowers. There are beetles, flies, butterflies and even moths. For example, Yucca species rely on one or two particular moth species to pollinate their flowers. Bees by far are the most important pollinators but it is not unlikely you have other insect groups in your backyard also providing pollination services.

If I see a dead bee, is it from your treatment?

Many things such as parasites, predators and even your car as you speed down the highway will kill bees. If you see many dead bees it would be important to contact your local county extension agent to provide insight and guidance on what may have happened.

My neighbors have beehives. Is it ok that I’m treating my yard for mosquitoes?

Yes.  Since we do not treat flowers it is ok. Honey bees often forage for pollen several miles from their hives, so there is a chance that the honey bees you see in your backyard may not be from a neighbor’s hive.

What do butterflies eat besides pollen?

Butterflies are visiting flowers to get nectar for energy. The flowers attract the butterflies by having the right look and via chemical cues or scents. It is during these visits for a sugar rush that they pick up pollen for pollination. Butterflies will also visit fruit to get sugar as well. Often you will see butterflies around puddles and even cow patties! There they are picking up salts and other nutrients they don’t get from nectar produced by flowers.

Dr. Craig Stoops LCDR MSC USN (ret.) is a retired U.S. Navy Medical Entomologist who has conducted mosquito control and research in the United States and around the world. Craig wields a B.S. in Biology from Shippensburg University, and both an M.S. and a Ph.D. in Entomology from Clemson University. He is Board Certified by the Entomological Society of America in Medical and Veterinary Entomology.

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