Photo from Business Examiner website
Pierce County Business Examiner staff reporter Hilary Maynard filed this report updating the bees’ story locally:
“Olympia beekeeper Jack Roberton has been stung a lot during the past few years. While bee stings rarely make him wince anymore, the financial sting of failed honeybee colonies in the South Sound and across the nation have resulted in the pain of higher prices and lower yields, and Roberton is worried his days of peddling honey are coming to an end.
After decades of successfully maintaining hundreds of hives, Robertons commercial honey business was threatened last spring, when he effectively lost the populations of 232 hives without warning. He was left with just eight active colonies. Roberton spent last summer rebuilding his hives from 120 starter packages of honeybees, but another disastrous winter left his hives weak, and he is wondering if his business will survive. ”
Further, McClatchy Newspapers, which owns several Puget Sound daily newspapers including The Olympian & The
Tacoma News Tribune filed this story titled:
“USDA Buzzing With New Plan to Fight Collapse of Bee Colonies”
By Michael Doyle
Saturday 14 July 2007
Washington – Agriculture Department scientists are mobilizing to fight the puzzling and potentially catastrophic collapse of the nation’s honey bee colonies.
Citing a “perfect storm for beekeepers,” alarmed officials admitted Friday they still don’t know why bees are dying in large numbers in more than 22 states. But prodded by Congress and farmers alike, the scientists will be devoting new resources to protecting the diligent pollinators some call six-legged livestock.
“There were enough honey bees to provide pollination for U.S. agriculture this year, but beekeepers could face a serious problem next year and beyond,” Agriculture Undersecretary Gale Buchanan warned Friday.
Nationwide, honey bees pollinate more than 130 crops. They are particularly dutiful in some areas, such as California’s nearly $3 billion-a-year almond industry. Of the nation’s 2.4 million commercial bee colonies, 1.3 million pollinate almond orchards.
“The bee industry is facing difficulty meeting the demand for pollination in almonds because of bee production shortages in California,” the Agricultural Research Service noted.