Georgia-Pacific: Bee Part of the Solution

Mar 23, 2022 9:55 AM ET

Imagine walking out of work for some fresh air and seeing a couple of bees flying around and then looking up to see a massive hive containing thousands of them. That’s exactly what happened to an employee at our Green Bay Broadway mill. After it was reported, the first call was made to pest control to get rid of it. Once pest control identified the species of the bees, it was determined that it would be extremely valuable to the environment to relocate them vs. exterminating them. It turns out that the hive contained over 14,000 bees!

Rescuing a swarm can be a difficult process but thankfully the Brown County Beekeepers Association was able to come rescue the swarm. Swarms can be captured in a variety of ways. In this case, the honeybees were removed by using a shop vac and a carrier. Yes, you read that right, the honeybees were vacuumed straight into the carrier that they needed to be transported in—surprisingly, it’s a very safe process for the bees.

We’ve used the terms ‘swarm’ and ‘hive’, so you’re probably wondering what is the difference between the two? Beehives are fully built homes that bees live in and a swarm, like the one at the Green Bay Broadway mill, is when a group of bees are getting ready to split the colony to make a new beehive elsewhere. After the swarm was removed from the facility, it was decided that this was the perfect opportunity to make our employees environmentally aware of the current state of the honeybee population and what they can do to help. For most of us, when we hear the word “bee” it means to start running away, furiously swatting at the air or calling pest control to get rid of them. Despite this fear that many have of honeybees, they are actually very docile creatures that need our help in keeping them safe.

Ways You Can Help Save the Bees

  • Leave areas with wildflowers and milkweeds alone. Honeybees love these kinds of natural plants and weeds.
  • Plant flowers in your backyard, garden or anywhere around your house.
  • Minimize the use of pesticides when plants are flowering.
  • Support your local beekeeping association or beekeeper that might want to establish a hive in your area.

What to Do If You Find a Honeybee Swarm

  • Don’t panic!
  • Don’t spray anything on the swarm.
  • Call your local beekeeper to collect the swarm so they can find it a new home and protect the species.

Honeybees are a crucial asset to the environment and must be protected because of their vital role in cross-pollination. As honeybees go from flower to flower gathering pollen and nectar for their own survival, pollen gets stuck to their bodies. The pollen eventually falls off onto other flowers from time to time, creating a process known as ‘cross-pollination’. This is what helps fertilize the crops so that new plants and flowers can grow. At least 30 percent of the world’s crops and 90 percent of all plants require cross-pollination. Unfortunately, honeybees have been on the decline since the 1980’s but have recently made a comeback due to proactive steps taken by the public, the agriculture industry and beekeepers all around the world.

Let’s help continue this trend of a “saving” approach for honeybees by BEEing aware of their importance to our environment—because after all, saving the bees keeps the world sweet!

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