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Honeybee Numbers Dropping

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By Jay Michaels

Castleford, Idaho ( KMVT-TV / KTWT-TV ) Honey bees are a delicate life form. In fact, they live only 30 days. That's why beekeepers and scientists across the nation are concerned about a major drop in the number of bees.

A pair of Magic Valley beekeepers are concerned there won't be enough worker bees to get the job done this year.

Scott Vanderwalker has been raising bees for the last ten years. It's been 18 years for his fellow beekeeper Ernie Griggs. Between the two of them, they're doing all they know to keep their honey operation humming.

Scott Vanderwalker of VeeBee Honey and Pollination says, "Myself, I've had some heavy losses, about 60%. I've been lucky for a few years, and I guess it was my turn."

Vanderwalker points out that one possible cause could be chemicals in pesticides and herbicides that are tested on adult bees. The adults take those chemicals back to the hive. That could cause problems with the bees that are still developing.

Beekeeper Ernie Griggs says, "If the young aren't coming out right, they're not hatching right, they're deformed or whatever it may be, you're going to lose your population and dwindle down."

In turn, a smaller number of bees means fewer plants get pollinated. While the beekeepers aren't sure why there's been such a drop, they're helping to improve the bees' chances to succeed.

Griggs says, "If I could just talk to a bee for five minutes, I might get my butt chewed. Or I might learn a lot of what's going on. It sure would be nice."

Griggs reveals that both mites and an intestinal infection can also cause bees to die off early.

Apr. 4, 2013.


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