Bee Shortage Stings Farmers

by Katie Jeffries on March 25, 2010 at 6:55 am

A shortage of honeybees could sting for farmers.

As Ohio is coming into spring, Ohio farmers are noticing some of their honeybees did not make it through the winter. Local farmers have reported losing up to 50% of their hives.

"One reason that I have heard from several bee keepers is they feel like the bees went into the winter fairly weak. The conditions from last December and last fall put them in not the best condition to go through the winter," says Mark Mechling an OSU Extension Educator.

Essentially many of the bees ran out of food in their hives and died. Honeybees are critical for their honey and the pollination of fruits and vegetables. So a lack in honey bees could mean problems for local farmers.

"People like the apple growers, peach growers, they depend upon those bees to carry pollen from blossoms.  So if we don’t have as many bees out there working, then we are going to unfortunately, maybe, have some less pollination for our fruit crops," says Mechling.

The lack in honeybees could also lead to less honey. According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, last year had record-low honey production nationwide. Mechling hopes there will be enough native and wild bees to replace the ones lost during the winter. If there are not enough bees to pollinate fruits and vegetables, that could drive up prices in the long run.  But Mechling doesn’t believe we are at that point yet.


Katie Jeffries