Jake Putnam photo
Bee Mortality Can Be Reduced, Acording to WSU
Pullman--Two years ago 40-percent of the American honeybees population disappeared. The death of the bees sparked a world wide solution to the problem but its remained a mystery until this week. Researchers at Washington State think they know what happened and how to fix the problem.
Bees are major players in the food chain because they pollinate plants that produce much of the US food supply. Dr. Steve Sheppard with the WSU Entomology Department says that about one-third of our diet is dependant on insect pollination. "Some of our major agricultural crops are completely dependent on honeybee pollination," Dr. Sheppard said.
"A normal strong, healthy colony within several weeks would decline," Sheppard said.
Without warning beekeepers across America began reporting up to 40 percent of their bees were dying or disappearing. They didn't know where the bees went or why.
Washington State Researchers started studying the situation and went to work analyizing honeycombs from collapsed, dying colonies and found pesticides in the combs.
Researchers think the pesticides reduced the lifespan of the bee and offset their development. They found out that honecombs soak up pesticides. Their solution to the problem was to replace the combs often and move the bees so they dont have contrated exposure in the hives year after year.
"I think this is a small part of a large effort," he said. In addition to swapping out the combs, scientists are also studying a new microscopic pathogen that could be another culprit causing the collapse of the bee colonies but they still have more research to do and more information to pass along to beekeepers.