MORGANTOWN, W.Va. (WBOY) — The decline of the honeybee population has been on the rise for some time now, but do you know why?
Morgantown-native beekeepers, The Newbees, discussed some of the biggest contributing factors to the recession of the bee population.
“Bees, including honeybees, and a lot of our insect species are on the decline because of habitat loss, pesticide exposure, climate change, and disease. All of these factors are causing detrimental effects on the ability for the insects to proliferate at the rates that we normally would. This is really problematic to us as humans because we employ a lot of pollinator species to keep our food system going. With the decline of our insect population, specifically honeybees, we will see a decrease in the amount of food we’re able to produce,” said Xian Coby, a Newbees beekeeper.
One of the greatest threats to the honeybee population right now is the Varroa mite, a minuscule reddish-brown parasite that feeds on honeybees and their larvae.
Talk of the Varroa mite has been more popular rather recently with stories coming out of Australia. The country has started eradicating honeybee species in an attempt to fight the harm that comes with Varroa mites.
Though the United States has dealt with Varroa mites in honeybee populations for several years now, we don’t seem to manage them to the same degree that Australia has.
“Here in America, we’ve had it for several years now and so we’re kind of used to it, but beekeepers are learning a lot more about bees and so we just have to do an integrated pest management and constantly keep up with these things and take care of our bees,” said Paxton Coby, a fellow beekeeper with the Newbees.
Many beekeepers within the U.S. frequently inspect their hives to avoid any run-ins with Varroa mites, various other parasites or signs of disease, specifically to stop and treat the issue before it spreads.