My nose swelled up to the size of a golf ball, which is pretty big for a sheltie size snout like mine. The good thing is that the swelling went down pretty quickly and the next morning I woke up and you couldn't even tell something had happened to me. ~Johann The dog
Despite the sting that bees can dole out...."(bees are) the world’s most important pollinator of food crops," according to Sustain Web. "It is estimated that one third of the food that we consume each day relies on pollination mainly by bees."
While bees are very important to our food chain, there are a wide variety of dangers that plague bees; so much so that the the declining bee populations are now posing a threat to global agriculture.
In June of 2013 in Oregon, 25,000 bees were found dead in a Target parking lot, spurring environmentalists to claim the incident as 'one of the largest mass deaths of bumblebees in the western U.S.' Since the occurance, representatives from the Oregon State Department of Agriculture state that tests on bees and foliage showed the deaths are "directly related to a pesticide application on linden trees" that was meant to control aphids."
While pesticides and insecticides can be blamed for many of the world's bee population decline, there are other dangers lurking for bees, including the nasty bee disease American Foulbrood, which, along with other diseases, plagues our bees.
According to the Colorado Beekeepers Association, "American Foulbrood is probably the most feared of all bee diseases. It's a highly contagious and is spread through the use of contaminated equipment and through robbing of the diseased hive by other bees, caused by the Bacillus larvae bacteria. The bacteria feeds on the larva and kills them in their pre-pupal and pupal stages. American Foulbrood has a distinct odor. Most beekeepers will notice the odor before they will notice the rest of the symptoms."
Because American Foulbrood gives off a distinctive smell it makes it a perfect disease to identify and treat early for further spread and destruction.
Bazz, a black lab and also a beekeeper's dog, has been working tirelessly to help prevent the spread of this dreaded disease, but not without protection.
Josh Kennett, a beekeeper in Australia, and dog dad to Bazz, has outfitted him with an amazing dog beekeepers suit, designed to allow Bazz to sniff out the disease while staying safe.
The process of training his dog and developing the suit has been an attempt to find a better way of controlling American foulbrood.
How can you help bees? Here are several ideas:
- Discontinue your use of pesticides and insecticides in your own yard and go organic!
- Plant bee loving flowers in your yard and garden (in a dog safe area, of course).
- Help fund bee research and contact your local, state and federal governmental officials to encourage them to vote for less destructive pesticide and insecticide use.
- When you purchase honey, purchase local honey from a trusted resource. Not only is honey (and honey products like bee pollen and propolis) good for you, but they can also be good for your dog. Local honey is often used to combat allergies in dogs and humans, and can provide valuable vitamins and minerals, as well.
- And lastly, if you are interested, you can become a bee keeper. Start by contacting your local beekeepers association for advice and guidance to get started.
Photos courtesy of Dustin and Jenae, tombayly13 and Josh Kennett.