Declining bee population causing concern


LANSING, MI (WLNS) – It’s been said it’s the “little things in life that make a big difference.”

Such is the role of bee.

Honeybees pollinate fruits, veggies and flowers and in turn, provide food for themselves and people to survive.

But there’s a problem. In recent years the bee population in the world and the U.S. has dramatically decreased, which has critical long-term implications.

Besides pollination, bees play a very important role in creating several things.

“They produce beeswax, they produce pollen, they produce propolis and as well, everybody’s favorite, they produce honey,” said Shannon Bigham, master bee keeper, Willow Blossom Farms.

Unfortunately, the bee population has declined.

It is a very serious issue.

“Our losses have been really in the 30 percent or 42 percent it was last year and that’s every year, and most beekeepers consider about 15 percent loss sustainable a year,” said Meghan Milbrath, coordinator of the Michigan Pollinator Initiative, Michigan State University.

But what exactly is the cause of this bee elimination?

“There are insecticides and pesticides known as nicotinoids that actually influence the bees and will actually eliminate a bee,” said Bigham.

“There are a variety of factors. A lot of it is land use changes, which is a loss of habitat, so loss of food for bees and also pesticide use,” said Milbrath.

Bees gather their food often times from weeds or dandelions and by using pesticides, it starves or kills them.

“If bees are sick because of pesticides then the fact that they are malnourished is either worse or maybe they can’t fight off the disease,” said Milbrath.

Luckily, there is a solution.

“If we put our bees in fields or in orchards that do not use nicotinoid insecticides, we found that the bees do benefit better,” said Bigham.

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