City Buzzing About New Law Aimed at Improving Bee Habitat

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(via KARK) The buzz in Searcy lately is swarming around a new law the city just put on the books. It’s aimed at improving the community: both ours and bees.
 
The City Council just approved a new ordinance with an emergency clause aimed at growing pollination across town through bees’ food, fiber and other flowering plants.
 
We would lose about a fifth of all our food if something happened to bees. 
 
Across Allan Isom’s 15 hives, he has around 300,000 bees to keep up with.
 
Each of the females will produce one-twelfth of a teaspoon of honey in its life but each season Isom can still pull several gallons of honey from each hive. 
 
He’s doing his part but the rest of us could do more. According to Isom, over the years, the bee population has flown a little off course. 
 
“The habitat in other words is down,” Isom explained.
 
To help counteract that, Isom wants to change the stigma associated with how we perceive bees and the tremendous benefit they serve.
 
Isom has kept bees for the last seven years and off-and-on since the 70s. Most recently he’s served as the President of the White County Bee Keeping Association.
 
Isom had concerns about the bee population and the lack of quality pollinating plants in town. 
 
He took his concerns to the city in hopes of improving the habitat.
 
The City listened and responded by passing Ordinance #2016-10, which establishes the city as a “Pollinator Friendly Community,” the first in the state. 
 
Its aim is to encourage people to grow pollinating flowers, bushes, and trees.
 
The ordinance provides for a “Pollinator Friendly Committee” made up of about 15 people appointed by the Mayor. According to the ordinance, the Committee will help guide the community and foster the pollination of crops and growing plants. 
 
As sweet as the fruits of a bees labor can be, they are a tremendous service to agriculture in general.
 
White County Extension Agent Sherri Sanders says bees are vital to our ecosystem and without them we’d all be in bad shape.
 
“It would be a catastrophic crisis,” she remarked. “We would be very hungry because the majority of our crops require pollination.”
 
She says we just need to educate folks to be good stewards. The University of Arkansas Systems Division of Agriculture in White County plans to work with the city to educate homeowners on how to use pesticides safely, which could protect all pollinators like bees, humming birds and monarch butterflies.
 
“You take one out of it and the chain of reproduction is challenged,” Isom added. “If a cucumber vine is not pollinated, that cucumber will be about as big as my finger.”
 
So Isom’s been busy as the bees in his yard, hoping to change how we see them in our world. 
 
“… Taking care of honey bees, not throwing rocks at them,” he said.

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