October 10, 2014


When you think of growing your own garden, you probably think of the basics like soil, water, and seeds. What you may not think of, are honeybees.

The Naperville Park District did, bringing in 20-thousand honeybees this spring to the Community Garden Plots to help pollinate flowers, vegetables, and fruit trees.

“Honeybees are vital for any human, any country, anywhere. It’s very vital because without honeys we wouldn’t be able to survive. They are the pollinators for a lot of our produce,” Danielle Hlave, Park Specialist 1 for the Naperville Park District.

Honeybees assist in the production of at least 90 commercially grown crops in North America, with favorites including apples, peaches and almonds; but with the increased use of agricultural toxins, bees are dramatically disappearing across the country.

“A lot of pesticide use and herbicide use has been killing the population and you can see a lot of the almonds and other produce haven’t been producing because they haven’t been pollinated this year,” said Hlave.

The Park District invested $8,000 in the project to educate people about the “un-bee-lievable” benefits of natural pollination. This summer’s gardeners reported a much bigger harvest than last year.

“I encourage many people to learn about it because I know people are afraid of bees. And really you shouldn’t be afraid; it’s more wasps and yellow jackets and those types of bees to be worried about, not honeybees,” said Hlave.

Even President Obama and the White House are involved in natural pollination by bringing the first ever hives to the White House garden and launching a national effort to save the honeybees.

Naperville is doing its part too; the Park District grew their bee population to 80,000 by the end of the summer.


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