Honeybee population plummets on Central Coast during drought - KSBY.com | San Luis Obispo and Santa Barbara Area News

Honeybee population plummets on Central Coast during drought

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Santa Barbara County -

The California drought is having an effect on all plant and animal life, and insects are no exception.

Local experts say there's been a noticeable drop in the number of bees here on the Central Coast because of the drought.

It's a hobby and a duty for Ron Barrows. The member of the Lompoc Valley Beekeepers Association fields calls from locals who want bees removed from their property.

Barrows says in Santa Barbara County, his group would rescue swarms of bees on a daily basis.

"It's not like that anymore," Barrows said. "Probably get about two calls a week when last year we were getting about 7 or 8 calls a week. We're starting to lose a lot of bees."

USDA numbers support Barrows' claim. Officials say the US honeybee population has plummeted by more than 40 percent since April of last year.

"The bees are vanishing," Barrows said.
With the lack of water, there are fewer crops for bees to pollinate, fewer chances for them to get the nectar they need to live.

But it's also a two-way street.

Barrows says an average garden with bees produces 65 percent more food than a garden without them.

"The bees go away, then the pollination goes away and we're going to end up with less and less food as time goes on," Barrows said. "As these bees vanish, if we don't do something to correct this problem, then we're going to end up with 65 percent less food than what we have right now."

If you need a beekeeper in your area to remove bees, click here. They'll move the hives, so the bees can continue to pollinate local plants.

Crops dependent upon or benefited by insect pollination (According to USDA):

Legumes and Beans - Cowpea, Lima Beans, Lupines, Mung Bean/Green or Golden Gram, Soybean relatives

Vegetables - Artichoke, Asparagus, Beet, Broccoli, Brussels Sprouts, Cantaloupes, Carrot, Cauliflower, Celeriac, Celery, Cucumber, Eggplant, Endive, Green Pepper, Leek, Lettuce, Okra, Onion, Parsnip, Pumpkin, Radish, Rutabaga, Squash, Tomato, Turnip, White Gourd

Fruits, berries and nuts - Almonds, Apple, Apricot, Avocado, Blackberry, Blueberry, Cacao, Cashew, Cherry, Chestnut, Citrus, Coffee, Coconut, Crabapple, Cranberry, Currant, Date, Fig, Gooseberry, Grapes, Guava, Huckleberry, Kiwi, Kolanut, Litchi, Macadamia, Mango, Olive, Papaw, Papaya, Passionfruit, Peach, Pear, Persimmon, Plum, Pomegranate, Raspberry, Strawberry, Tung, Vanilla, Watermelon

Herbs and spices - Allpsice, Anise, Black Pepper, Caraway, Cardamom, Chive, Clove, Coriander, Dill, Fennel, Lavender, Mustard, Nutmeg, Parsley, Pimento, Tea, White Pepper

Oils, seeds and grains - Alfalfa, Buckwheat, Canola, Flax, Oil Palm, Safflower, Sesame, Sunflower

Clover and relatives - Alsike Clover, Arrowleaf Clover, Ball Clover, Berseem Clover, Black Medic/Yellow Trefoil, Cider Milkvetch, Crimson Clover, Lespedeza, Peanut, Persian Clover, Red Clover, Rose Clover, Strawberry Clover, Subterranean Clover, Sweet Clover, Trefoil, Vetch, White Clover

Other - Cotton, Kenaf


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