Beekeepers See 30 Percent Decline In Population

Beekeepers continue to experience a decline because of "colony collapse disorder," a phenomena first identified in 2006.

bees

Photo: Pandora's Perspective (Flickr)

Bees are particularly susceptible to mites.

Bees are out in fewer numbers this spring because of a continuing phenomena that decimates bee colonies.

This past season, beekeepers saw a 30 percent decline in the bee population in Indiana, according to Purdue Entomologist Dr. Greg Hunt.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture calls the issue “colony collapse disorder,” which is being seen across the nation.

The problem first appeared in 2006 when beekeepers began noticing their worker adult bees began leaving hives in droves only to be found elsewhere dead. Since, 2006 an estimated 10 million bee hives worth about $200 each have been lost, amounting to about $2 billion.

Hunt says there are numerous likely reasons for the decline in the bee population.

“There are pesticides and sometimes poor nutrition and transporting bees is always tough on them,” he says.

However, Hunt says parasitic mites are probably the biggest problem. To combat the mites, researchers are trying to breed bees that can kill the mites and perhaps reverse the trend.

Bees help pollinate crops that amount to roughly $200 billion a year.

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