Local honeybee population declines

CANFIELD, Ohio (WKBN) — The state of Ohio saw a huge loss in honeybees this past winter; a loss that’s affecting more than just honey.

Ohio has lost about 40 percent of its honeybee hives. The Fellows Riverside Gardens was just one of the many beekeepers affected. They lost one of their two hives in February.

“On February 8, we went and inspected them and the hive was dead,” said Lori Mowad of Fellows Riverside Gardens.

Many bee experts believe the decline is from colony collapse disorder. That can include honeybees dying from pesticides, severely cold temperatures or flying to a different area.

Whatever the reason, Mowad said the bees are important, because 30 percent of our food population is dependent upon the pollination of honeybees.

“Every single plant has to be pollinated to produce the fruit,” explained Mowad.

White House Fruit Farm in Canfield rely on honeybees to pollinate its apple crops. They even bring in bees to make sure they have a good pollination process.

Owner David Hull said it makes a better fruit.

“The apple can be bigger. It could be more round. It can be more flavorful,” said Hull.

The apple crop at White House Fruit Farm should start pollinating within the next week. The owners believe the process should go smoothly. However, Hull believes the bigger problem is a world wide decline in honey bee numbers and health.

“There’s been many things that have been bothering bee colonies over the past 10 to 15 years, and nobody had been able to point their finger at one individual thing,” said Hull. “And a lot of people are working on the problem.”

State agriculture officials agree that it’s a number of factors. Pesticides, severe cold temperatures as well as mites. The honeybees are not as strong, and are dying off.

According to the USDA, honeybees pollinate more than $14 billion in crops each year.

“If it continues to get worse, that’s eventually going to affect prices of all fruits,” finished Hull.



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