Celebrating those that buzz in Alaska

ANCHORAGE (KTUU) - They buzz, they bumble and they pollinate our plants making valuable contributions to our environment. It's time to celebrate them: June 17-23 is National Pollinator Week.

Local beekeeper Wigi Tozzi says the bees around Alaska are especially fond of Alaska's willow, aspen and cottonwood flowers. One thing Tozzi says to be aware of, however, is swarm season.

"There's going to be some honeybee swarms in town over the next few weeks. The best thing you can do is not to spray them. A lot of people want to spray them with some sort on insecticide or something like that," he says.

Instead, you should get professional help -- just search "beekeepers in Anchorage"

"You will always find somebody who will come and take those swarms from you," says Tozzi.

While the bees may seem abuzz this time of year, there's also a challenge in Alaska with the bee population. As we get deeper into summer and try to ward off mosquitoes, the same insecticides used to kill the spawn of those blood-sucking pests are also fatal to bumble bees. If a yard is sprayed for mosquitoes, and the bees bring the pesticide back to the hive and a majority of them could die, according to Tozzi. He says bees are dying by the thousands in Fairbanks.

"They're gathering up dead bees and dead colonies, and trying to get them tested to try to make the connection between that spraying and the loss of those bees. This time of year, you shouldn't have thousands of dead bees in front of your hive. There's lots to eat, and the weather's good," he said.

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