BDN talks with UMaine bee experts

The Bangor Daily News interviewed Frank Drummond and David Yarborough for a story about the health of Maine’s native bees. Drummond said while the country’s honeybee population is dramatically declining, many of Maine’s 275 native bee species appear to be holding their own. “I think it’s a very optimistic story,” says the professor of insect ecology. “In general, it seems that most of our native bees are pretty stable and not really in decline.” Yarborough, a wild blueberry specialist with the School of Food and Agriculture and the University of Maine Cooperative Extension, says bee populations fluctuate with environmental conditions. “With the warming trends, you tend to see southern species moving in and northern species moving out. It’s a moving target, and there are a lot of considerations,” he says. “It’s the plight of all animals: climate change, habitat destruction. Things aren’t the way they used to be and they aren’t going to go back.” Drummond says people can make small changes to their habitats and habits to help bees. “Bees mostly operate pretty locally, with the distance they fly just a couple hundred meters,” he says. “So individual people can have an impact. Everybody doing their little bit helps.” That might include periodically mowing fields and providing pesticide-free plantings that bloom in succession throughout the season.