Honey bees lowering in numbers

Pollination of plants and flowers is in danger with declining bee populations.

Honey bees are dying off in large numbers around the country. That's putting pollination of plants and flowers in danger.

That sweet buzzing sound of the bees is an indication of summertime, but in recent times, the buzz is has lowered to a whisper.

According to bee sideliner Bernie Andrew, he has seen a decrease in the amount of honey bees in the area.

Bee numbers are lowering around the country due to Colony Collapse Disorder.

"As of the last report, Illinois, Missouri, and Iowa have no confirmed cases of C.C.D. but we are still losing 30 to 50 percent of our bees due to mites or the weather," Andrew said.

Dennis Zellerman with Edgewood Orchards in Quincy uses Andrew's honey bees to pollinate his apple trees.

"So far it hasn't affected us at all. We have no trouble with local bee populations. That may not be the case in the future. There are some diseases that are looming in the future, so I am not sure what is going to happen then," Zellerman said.

According to a recent report from the USDA, the decline is a result of parasites, disease, genetics, poor nutrition and pesticide exposure.

The loss of the honey bee could eventually hurt the production of the food we consume daily.

"Bees do directly and indirectly produce 30 percent of our food supply. It's very important that we take issue to these bees. If there is anything that can be done, be done," Andrew said.

"Bees are very essential for many fruits and vegetables. It's amazing on how many human foods would not be available if we did not have honey bees," Zellerman said.

Bee colonies are dying at a rate of 30 percent per year over the last few winters around the country.

Andrew sees this as an issue, but doesn't think the bees will ever become extinct. He takes care of 175 colonies of honey bees. He said mites are a big problem with his bee population and have been since the 1980s. Andrew said they are still looking for a way to prevent these deaths and bring the numbers back up to normal.