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Honey bees and bee populations are on the decline and need your help

Posted at 6:34 PM, Jul 19, 2018
and last updated 2018-07-19 21:34:17-04

A few bee populations are now considered endangered and a local beekeeper says he has noticed added stress on the bees.

Botanist and beekeeper John Chestnut has been working with these insects for decades and says you can learn a lot about other bee populations by studying the non-native honey bees.

Insecticides, habitat loss, parasites and competition with native bee species all threaten honey bee populations.

Crops like broccoli, cauliflower, and vineyards make it tough for bees to find safe food and water.

"New pesticides are so dangerous at such low levels. They are toxic to bees at parts per billion," said Chestnut.

Chestnut added that pesticides today are less toxic to other animals, but remain deadly for bees.

Some populations of honey bees have been domesticated to help local crops and provide us with sweet treats like honey. Proper care from a beekeeper allows for the selection of the more productive bees, which keeps the colony going strong. 

"We care for the bees and they thrive," said Chestnut. "Bees that are wild in the woods, the researched loss rate is 80 percent of the colonies per year die out."

Even some beekeepers are losing bees at higher rates. That’s what happened to one local honey business.

"We actually had to scale back our honey production. We are no longer producing Therabee Honey. It is on hiatus," said Martha VanInwgen, co-founder of LiveElements.

They moved from selling honey to making honey-infused and CBD-infused bath and body products.

Both Van and Chestnut hope the bees make a comeback, but human help is necessary.

It is easy to do your part to help save the bee populations. One way is to plant pollination-friendly plants like the California poppy.