It may seem as if everywhere you turn today, there are stories of vanishing bee populations; there are tales online and in the news of beekeepers in other states who wake up to find their honeybees have died, left their commercial hives, or are reproducing in smaller numbers than ever before.
To be sure, bees and other pollinating insects are important; indeed, most of the fresh produce you find in the supermarket depends upon pollination. But many Florida homeowners are concerned that bee control (or other professionally managed residential pest control or commercial pest control) might endanger the pollinating population and make the problem worse.
The truth is, the disappearance of commercial honeybees is a wholly separate issue from that faced by Floridians vis-a-vis the explosion of the African bee population in our state. In fact, it remains the recommendation of state officials that any wild bee colonies discovered in or about residential or populated commercial areas be destroyed by qualified pest control companies. Commercial honeybee populations will be completely unaffected by the eradication of Africanized bees in Florida, and many experts believe their hives will actually become healthier without the competition for resources from the Africanized bees.
One of the problems of not taking care of even seemingly “tame” hives in and around populated or well-trafficked areas is that while they might seem docile at the moment, a sudden and dramatic change for the worse can occur should the queen of the colony decide to mate — and discover as a partner a nearby African drone to do so. A hive that was previously no threat to humans could become fully populated with Africanized offspring in a matter of weeks or months.