How Could the Honey Bee Shortage Affect You?

KWQXNews6 By Akilah Davis    May 18, 2014

Experts say honey bees are more vital than we all realize and the shortage could affect you in ways you might not imagine. The average life span of a worker bee in the summer is six weeks, but that could mean big problems if their life spans are cut short. Without bees pollinating our crops, a lot of them would die off. 

"Honey bees are important to the ecosystem because they pollinate about a third of the crops of the food we eat," said Ronald Fischer, a bee keeper from Illinois.

Fischer has been bee-keeping for over 40 years and says he knows enough to know that if the honey bee shortage continues, it could result in a food desert. 

"Without honey bee pollination you won't get the almonds, apples, citrus. It would be like a food desert out there because you won't be able to get lots of your fruits and vegetables and some of the other products," said Fischer. 

The shortage is the outcome of what's called colony collapse disorder and a lot of factors contribute to it.

"The varroa mite is a mite that sucks on the bees blood and it also brings various viruses with it," said Fischer. "So we've got the varroa mite and viruses, you also have the increase use in pesticides, the neo-nicotine."

That means the weed killer you use to stop them from growing in your yard also stops busy bees from buzzing around.

"None of which is bad by itself, but combine all of them you have an unhealthy hive. When you have an unhealthy hive its susceptible to all these various problems that we have," Fischer explained. 

The shortage is also causing bee keepers like Fischer to take a hit in the wallet and its causing them to pay more for replacement bees. 

"It's about $100 for a three-pound package where you get three pounds of bees and one queen," said Fischer.

That very package used to cost $60.

Our expert says the best way to reverse the trend is plant a bee-friendly garden so bees can pollinate--and cut back on weed pesticides.

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