Local Bee Keepers Seeing Decline in Population

The number of bees in Virginia has been on a significant decline.
They're an important part of local agriculture, and their population has a direct effect on crops.
Virginia's $52 billion agriculture industry relies heavily on bees. They pollinate the plants that help keep up the amount and the quality of crops. Their decline can have a very negative affect on the food we eat.
The loss of bees over the past decade is un-sustainable. Luckily there are groups like the ‘Central Virginia Bee Keepers Association’ that help support the local bee keepers.

"We support them through bee keeping transfer of knowledge, our monthly meetings where we have speakers and people coming in from all over the country to talk about the bees," says Alan Freeman, Treasurer of the Central Virginia Bee Keepers Association.

The collapse of bee colonies has been seen in other areas around the world and this group wants to prevent it from happening in our backyard.

"It's still being researched, but the colony collapse disorder itself; the most anybody can say about it now is that it's a combination of problems. The verroa might be the main problem, and then associated viruses" mentions Freeman.

We always see a loss of bees during the winter, but this past one was especially bad. Obviously because of the cold; we also see a loss of them because of poor nutrition, a loss of land.

The verroa is a parasite that lives only inside the hive and eats the bee from inside out all the while delivering a deadly virus. These large drops in bee population have the biggest effect on commercial bee keepers that have hundreds of hives.

"The rest of us in the club are what you call hobby or sideline bee keepers with one, two, five, seven, ten hives."

Still one of the best ways to help the survival of bees, is awareness.

The bee keepers association will have a booth at the Albemarle County Fair which is the last weekend in July. They will bring a hive with them, and you can learn how to help prevent the loss of colonies.

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