Indiana News

Indiana Beekeepers Say Bee Population Continues to Fall

5/7/2013

Beekeepers across Indiana and the nation say it continues to be a problem.

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Bees are dying off in alarming numbers. Purdue Entomologist Dr. Greg Hunt says this past season alone beekeepers saw a 30% decline in the bee population in Indiana. The U.S. Department of Agriculture calls the issue "colony collapse disorder" which is being seen across the nation.

The problem first appeared in 2006 when beekeepers began noticing their worker adult bees began leaving hives in droves only to be found elsewhere dead. Since, 2006 an estimated 10 million bee hives worth about $200 each have been lost, amounting to about $2 billion. Hunt says there are numerous likely reasons for the decline in the bee population, mainly parasitic mites.

Hunt says they're currently trying to breed bees that can bite kill the mites and perhaps reverse the trend. Bees help pollinate crops that amount to roughly $200 billion a year. Hunt says that includes fruits and vegetables and even alfalfa used to feed cows that provide meat.

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