The buzz: Honeybee colonies are collapsing

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Champaign, Ill. (WAND) – Honeybee populations in the U.S. have been declining over the past decade and Congressman Rodney Davis, (R) Illinois, hopes to guarantee funds for honeybee research in the 2018 farm bill.

“If we don’t have enough bees we don’t get the pollination that we need to continue to feed the world,” Davis told WAND’s Doug Wolfe.  “It’s a very big economic issue.  Especially when it comes to our food supply.”

Davis toured the Curtis Orchard in Champaign to get a first-hand look at active hives.  The orchard uses the hives to provide bees to pollinate apple trees so they bear fruit.

One of the reasons for declining bee populations is a parasite called the varroa mite.  It frequently causes what is known as Collapsing Colony Disorder.  It’s a mite Curtis Orchard keeps an eye on.

“It’s research.  Research is key,” stated Davis.  “How do we get universities like the University of Illinois, or Illinois State Ag, how do we get them more dollars to research how to address the varroa mite?”

“Without pollinators we wouldn’t have a crop for apples, for pumpkins, for everything we plant here,” said Curtis Orchard beekeeper Rachael Coventry.  “About one third of all of what we eat or use is directly or indirectly related to the honeybee and other pollinators.”

(Pictured: Curtis Orchard beekeeper Rachel Coventry shows Rep. Rodney Davis a jar of honey.)  

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