Honey Bee Colony Numbers Decline in MT - ABC FOX MONTANA NEWS, WEATHER, SPORTS - KTMF/KWYB

Honey Bee Colony Numbers Decline in MT

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A recent scientific report shows a large decline in the number of honey bee colonies across the nation.

USDA and EPA experts estimate one-third of all food and beverages are made possible by pollination -- primarily by honey bees.

University of Montana biology researchers said commercial beekeepers in Montana have recorded 50-70% losses this year.

Their research shows last year's drought and a cold spring could be the causes for bee losses.

Colin Henderson, a UM Professor of Biology and bee researcher, said, "If you look at pollination, plus honey, plus sales of bees, honeybees in Montana are actually the third largest agricultural enterprise in the state of Montana, in terms of total economic benefit, so behind cattle and sheep we have honeybees, which surprises a lot of people."

National and local bee researchers said parasites, poor nutrition, and pesticides also lead to colony declines.

They said they'll continue to experiment with new ways to increase honey bee health across the nation.

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