May 18, 2014

Across the nation, bee die-off still a mystery



It also stayed colder later in the year, as he had frost in his yard on May 8. That cold weather means the bees are getting a later start in foraging and finding fewer plants available when they do so.

Last year, he was moving his bees into the orchard by the first week of May, but this year that will be about two weeks later.


Pollen from sugar maples and other sources is running about six weeks late, so the beekeeper is having to provide the bees with pollen and sugar water until the natural pollen becomes available.

Crawford said dandelions are starting to bloom, but that often leads people to apply herbicide, which harms the bees that seek pollen from that source. He said it would be better if people would wait to apply those chemicals for two weeks after dandelions appear.

Moving forward, it would be great if there was a stretch of 70 degree days with light rain at night to get plants and trees a boost in the spring growing season, he said.

He would also like people to plant more flowers and cut back on pesticide use.

“Let’s hope for a dry summer and a good honey crop in September,” he said.  

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