Bee population on the decline

By Ryne Turke on June 16 at 1:16pm

Bees have been decreasing recently in West Central Illinois, but that’s not the only place.

Over the past several years areas all across the United States have seen a drop in the bee population. Duane Friend with the University of Illinois Extension says there are a few reasons for that.

“You may have heard of such things as colony collapse disorder and different diseases that may be causing the decline. There was a recent Harvard study that looked at the potential for pesticides being part of the problem, so there’s probably a number of different things that’s going on with causing the decrease in numbers,” says Friend.

He says not many realize that the loss of bees, especially ones that pollinate, could have a major impact on people.

“If you look at a lot of the things that we eat, a lot of those things require pollination for the plants to develop and for the food that we eat to get into place, so its something that would impact just about everybody that eats food,” he says.

Friend says work is being done to help boost the population of bees, which includes research on diseases and pesticides harming the insect.

“One of the problems with these diseases is something called Varroa mites which is a small pest that actually takes the blood out of bees. They are doing some research to try to breed resistance into new strains of honeybees that would be able to resist that type of mite disease,” says Friend.

Again they are just doing the research on the pesticide aspect of things. There may be something that comes down the road along with that that would help decrease the mortality of some of that. That’s something that would probably hear more about in the next few years as that research progresses.”

Friend believes more information will be relieved one those topics in the next few years.

To increase bees in the area you can plant flowers such as wild roses and bellflowers, which can assist in a bee’s health and pollination.