Event to address impacts of commercial bees on Utah’s forests

Grand County bee inspectors Aug. 22 will give a presentation at the Moab Arts and Recreation Center regarding a plan to temporarily house over 8,000 commercial bee colonies used to pollinate crops in the West on Utah’s national forests, including the Manti-La Sal. Inspectors fear the commercial bee colonies would threaten native bees by competing for food and spreading disease.

According to an announcement from Ashley Davidson, communications director of the Grand Canyon Trust, the event will occur at 7 p.m. next Thursday. “Utah has amazing bee diversity–over 1,000 native bee species,” said Davidson. She said 660 species are in Grand Staircase National Monument alone, which is “not that many fewer than the 750 species found east of the Mississippi.”

Grand County has an ordinance forbidding the introduction of honey bees, according to Davidson. She said bee inspectors Mary O’Brien and Jerry Shue will be giving the presentation.