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Drought Having Devastating Effect on Bees

By Christian Hartnett, KEYT - KCOY - KKFX Reporter, ChristianHartnett@kcoy.com
Published On: Feb 12 2014 06:33:36 PM CST
Bees and Drought
LOMPOC, Calif. -

Local reservoirs are in need of water as the pressure of the drought continues. As it turns out, bees are thirsty too, and it could have an effect on local farmers.

Sandra Newman looks over the beehives on her property, where she grows a variety of fruits and other crops. About 15 hives sit next to a blueberry field where the bees work their magic.

"Our blueberry field needs bees to pollinate the flowers," says Newman. "It gives us larger sized fruit."

But beekeepers are abuzz with concern over the drought. Pesticides used to be the main problem they faced. Now, a lack of plant life adds to the worry.

The lack of rain means there's less naturally-growing plants available for these bees to pollinate. With less food, it's hard for them to flourish.

"You need flowers, you need flowers for the bees to collect pollen, nectar, and unless you have the rain you aren't going to have flowers," says Archie Mitchell, a local bee expert. "It's going to have a snowball effect."

That snowball effect is carrying over to local farmers who depend on bees to keep their crops healthy. For Newman, her bees have been suffering.

"These last two or three years its just been so dry, we're having trouble with the hives just even keeping themselves alive," says Newman.

If things don't improve by springtime, commercial beekeepers who are hired by farmers to pollinate their crops could choose to leave the state.

"It's going to have a detrimental effect," says Mitchell. "Unless we get rain, it's going to impact us. So we definitely need rain."

Allan Hancock College is holding beekeeping courses to educate the public on the importance of bees and how to create your own hive at home.

For more information, click on the link: http://www.hancockcollege.edu/public_affairs/announcements/2014Feb5BeekeepingClasses.php

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