On Tuesday, bees became a nuisance during the Cactus League game between the Rockies and Royals, causing a slight delay. A beekeeper came to remove the bees without killing them, and Royals manager Ned Yost helped out.
Yost is a friend of the bees, as illustrated in this article by Rustin Dodd for the Kansas City Star.
“It’s just important for the environment,” said Yost, who spends offseasons at his farm in rural Georgia. “I saw a study a couple years ago where the honey bee was declining and they cannot figure out why. And I started looking at it and studying it, the importance of what they do, in terms of pollination with all the crops. Especially the fruit trees and stuff like that. They’re vital to the environment.
“To just arbitrarily kill a bunch of bees makes zero sense to me. I’m not like that with a lot of stuff, right. But I’m a conservationist. I love conservation. I love the aspect of wildlife, fish, I love that stuff. But there’s things that you have to do.”
Yost is right. The bee population has been in decline, particularly in recent years. There are many factors, but arguably the most prevalent is pesticides. In a Quartz article three years ago, a study showed that pollen was contaminated, on average, with nine different pesticides and fungicides. Bees that ate this contaminated pollen are then made more susceptible to the Nosema ceranae parasite. This leads to “colony collapse disorder” which is what happens when worker bees in a colony disappear, leaving a queen bee, some nurse bees, and immature bees to tend to the colony. In six years prior to 2013, it is estimated that over 10 million beehives were lost, in large part due to CCD.
Why is this important to us? Bees are essential for a lot of what we eat. Per the Quartz article, it now takes 60 percent of surviving colonies in the U.S. just to pollinate almonds, a California crop with a market estimated at $4 billion. And that’s just one example.
The next time you see a honeybee, ask yourself, “What would Ned Yost do?” He wouldn’t try to kill it, that’s for sure.