Local Beekeeper Talks About New University of Maryland Findings

By: Suzanne Wilson Email
By: Suzanne Wilson Email

July 29, 2013

The University of Maryland released new information dealing with the decline of American Honey bees. The study says that lethal doses of fungicides are being found in the hives of bees when before, fungicides were thought to be less harmful to bees.

Ron Thacker, a local beekeeper, has been around bees his entire life. He's see the decline in the number of honey bees first hand.

Thacker said, "It started in '86 I believe, was the first time the varroa mites were introduced to this country and they were imported here."

These mites devastated the honey bee population, leading farmers to treat the mites with the only things they knew how too, chemicals.

Thacker said, "Out of desperation, tried more harsher chemicals that they probably should have. Looking back on it now, I'm sure that all of us wish we hadn't used that we did back then."

Over the past several years, beekeepers have started using softer chemicals which cause less harm to the bees. Therefore, allowing for the populations to stay at a more steady rate.

It's been known for a while that pesticides and insecticides play a part in the disappearing bees phenomenon, but now, according to The University of Maryland, lethal doses of fungicides are being found in the hives.

Thacker said, "The wax is just like a big sponge in the hive. And, anything that's exposed, good or bad, is absorbed into that wax products that are in the hive."

Thacker continued to say that you're never going to be able to keep your bees away from these chemicals completely but as a community, knowing the lasting effects of the chemicals we use will only help the bees down the road.

Thacker said, "Whether the bees will ever come back to their 20-30 years ago, the populations before the varroa mites, I doubt that and I'm sorry to say that."

Thacker added that the only way to continue to help the bee population is by having more beekeepers.

For a link to the University of Maryland study press release, click here. click here.

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