County Executive Neuhaus urges residents to be kind to honey bees

Residents dealing with honey bees can call 911 for beekeeper resources available in Orange County

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  • Photo provided by the Office of the County Executive Pictured from left to right are: Warwick beekeeper Roger Moss; Orange County Executive Steven M. Neuhaus, Lucy Joyce, executive director of the Cornell Cooperative Extension, Walden beekeeper Tim Maendel, and Jennifer Robles, Orange County 911's director of operations.

— As the warm weather approaches, Orange County Executive Steven M. Neuhaus encourages residents to call a beekeeper to safely remove honey bees from their property and save the important insects.

According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, honey bee populations face increasing risks from parasites, disease, lack of adequate nutrition and pesticide exposure.

“As a beekeeper, I know that honey bees play an important role in our environment,” Neuhaus said. “Our food supply would be greatly diminished without the pollination work done by bees and I appreciate residents being sensitive to these insects. We all need to do whatever we can do to preserve and protect honey bees.”

Where to find helpResidents dealing with honey bees can call 911 to provide them with beekeeper resources available in Orange County.

The website has a list of beekeepers in the county.

A beekeeper can safely gather and transport the bees from the residence or business, often for free.

Residents can also visit the Cornell Cooperative Extension’s website ( for more information about honey bees, beekeeping and beekeepers.

“Honey bees and humans have enjoyed a symbiotic relationship over time,” said Lucy Joyce, executive director of the Cornell Cooperative Extension. “We are all dependent on the honey bee and their role as the great pollinator. Farmers and gardeners depend on the honey bees to pollinate their crops. Cornell Cooperative Extension is pleased to work with County Executive Neuhaus to provide residents with the information needed to make responsible decisions regarding honey bee swarms and the removal of hives that are located inconveniently.”

What pollinators doBees, butterflies and other wild insects are crucial for pollinating many crops essential to the human food supply.

Experts say the dramatic population drops in the bee population in recent years appear to be caused by a combination of pesticides and loss of habitat that has made pollinators more vulnerable to diseases and parasites.

Pollinators, both wild and managed, are critical to food production worldwide.

The annual value of insect pollination in New York State is estimated at $500 million.

Some foods, such as tomatoes and blueberries, depend entirely on insects for pollination.

Other crops, including sunflowers, green beans, raspberries and blackberries, do not require pollination to reproduce, but benefit from better quality and yields when pollinators are involved.

Beekeeper: Rare for honeybees to stingAccording to Roger Moss, a beekeeper from Warwick, a honeybee swarm typically consists of several thousand bees that can be as large as a basketball. Swarms are usually not dangerous, Moss said, as long as you keep your distance from them.

“It’s rare that honeybees will sting,” Moss said. “They are just looking for a home and will likely move on if they can’t find one. If they stay around, you can call a beekeeper to remove them safely.”

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