Honeybees Provide Pollinator Power

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honeybees

Did you know that we have busy, buzzing honeybees to thank for every three bites of food we eat? The pollinator is extremely important to agriculture production in Tennessee and across the nation. In fact, the value of Tennessee crops that rely on honeybees and other pollinators for production exceeds $119 million each year.

Unfortunately, honeybee populations have been declining in recent years. “From July 2012 to June 2013, Tennessee beekeepers reported a staggering 51.4 percent colony loss,” says Christopher Pianta of the Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation Office of Sustainable Practices, using information from an annual survey by Bee Informed Partnership. Colony collapse disorder, where bees abandon their hives and disappear, has been the cause for more than a decade, but other factors including a parasitic mite, viruses, bacteria, poor nutrition and more also play a role.

On the bright side, honeybees are slowly making a comeback. From July 2015 to June 2016, the colony loss number in Tennessee had dropped by almost half to 27.4 percent, according to the survey. “As the causes continue to become better understood,” Pianta says, “solutions will hopefully soon provide the honeybee with a bright future.”

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