Honey Bees disappearing at an alarming rate - KOTA Territory News

Honey bees disappearing at an alarming rate


South Dakota's honey industry is under attack.

As the number two producer of honey, behind only North Dakota, South Dakota bee keepers have doubts about the future.

"I knew the hives were in a weakened state that's why I called Jerry," said hobby bee keeper Robert Evans.
If there is a bee problem near Rapid City bee keeper and owner of ADR Bees Jerry Owens most likely has the solution.
"We are going to introduce a new queen to one of the hives to see if we can kick start it and see if we can get it to do what it's supposed to do,"said Owens.
Today Owens is suiting up in his bee suit to find out what's wrong with hobby bee keeper Robert Evans' bee hives. The bees are not as active and their numbers are starting to dwindle.
"We are not the only place this is happening, It's happening all over the world,"said Owens.
According to the American Beekeeping Federation, last year, 31% of the honey bee population died out and numbers will continue to fall if something isn't done. That's why Owens along with other bee keepers in the area are making efforts to save the bees.
"We brought in 2 million bees to this part of South Dakota and distributed them all over and we are having pretty good success with them so far,"said Owens.
While efforts are being made, Owens said this is a serious problem that could pose a threat to world agriculture.
"Without bees you don't have fruit and without them we lose about 1/3 of all the things we eat,"said Owens.
Many people are unaware of this problem.

Owens wants people to know that honey bees are beneficial to us all.
"Honey bees are not dangerous unless you antagonize them and they are beneficial to us all," said Owens.

There are a number of theories as to why bee colonies are collapsing: it's a combination of viruses, parasites, a fungus and possibly even stress combined with certain pesticides.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture is collecting data, doing lab research and supporting preventative measures like creating more bee friendly habitat.



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