Honeybee populations are on the decline but some folks are inter - MSNewsNow.com - Jackson, MS

Honeybee populations are on the decline but some folks are intervening

Source: WLBT Source: WLBT
Source: WLBT Source: WLBT
Source: WLBT Source: WLBT
RANKIN COUNTY, MS (Mississippi News Now) -

There's lots of buzz about bee problems. Now, the federal government is getting involved. Millions of dollars will soon go towards research on why honeybee populations are declining.

A federal survey found beekeepers lost more than 40 percent of their colonies last year.

Jim Giles has been beekeeping in Rankin County for a decade. The so-called colony collapse hasn't hit Giles hard. But he's got his own theory on what might be causing it.

"A honeybee is a flying vacuum cleaner," said Giles. "So if a farmer coats his crops with poison, the bee goes out to collect that nectar source, it comes in contact with the poison. And it kills the honeybee."

He has seen more pests. He thinks that's a result of the bees' weakened immune systems.The role of the bees is broader than just providing honey.

"I think it's hard to overestimate the honeybee," he said. "It's like a critical link."

Experts say the bees are needed to pollinate crops. Even though it's a small job in the big scheme of things, beekeepers can keep the population thriving.

"A trained bee keeper in the spring can take 10 hives and turn them into 20," explained Giles. "Can turn 100 hives into 200. The capacity to double the size of your colony population is just remarkable when you learn how to graft bees."

The federal report says there's a fine line between the need for pesticides to help agriculture and the harm they can do to bees and other pollinators.

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