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HAMPTON, IA - Our harsh winter snow and unpredictable weather may be to blame for the decrease in Iowa honey bees, but it’s not the only thing.
A variety of pesticides are now being tested by Iowa State University to see if the honey bees are being harmed in the process of farming. The multi-billion dollar industry is trying to find answers for production.
For one bee expert, he says the issue is too valuable to ignore.
“An average year, they demand eight frames of bees and in a bee hive that’s a pretty good size, bigger then a basketball cluster of bees. This year the report was that there was an average of three and a half frames, that’s probably like a softball sized group of bees or somewhere in that area. They were still taking the bees because they needed the bees so bad,” said Pat Ennis, President of the Iowa Honey Producers Association.
Parasites, pesticides and unsavory weather has caused the honey bee population in many states around the country to dwindle down to a fraction of one year ago. Unfortunately for Pat that means unwillingly having to ship his bees just so they can survive.
“Our winter loss last year was 18 percent, the Iowa winter loss was 73 percent. Now if an average farmer was to lose even 50 percent of his livestock a year, he’s gonna go out of business pretty soon. I have to move my bees to a warmer climate, to keep them alive.”
In the United States, pollination contributes to crop production worth more than $20 billion-dollars each year.