Bees Need Enough Good Food, All Of The Time


It’s Simple, Bees Need Enough Good Food, All Of The Time

By Christine Souza, assistant editor of Ag Alert, California Farm Bureau Federation

At a first-of-its-kind meeting in Sacramento, beekeepers, farmers and representatives of public and private organizations gathered to discuss how to improve honeybee populations by allowing beekeepers access to more sources of bee forage.

During the meeting, held last week at the California Farm Bureau Federation, beekeepers and bee experts said increased access to forage on both public and privately managed lands would promote the long-term health and sustainability of managed honeybee populations.

California State Beekeepers Association President John Miller, a beekeeper from Newcastle, described the past 30 years in the bee business as “tumultuous.”

“We’re at a juncture here where we must address some fundamental issues of forage and access,” Miller said, thanking those who attended the meeting for efforts to “collaborate and work on a toolbox of access and forage that might enhance the ability of honeybees to find clean forage, safe forage, and recover from the many challenges they are experiencing.

CFBF President Paul Wenger said that, as an almond grower whose crop depends on bees for pollination, he knows firsthand the importance of honey bee health.

“This is a key issue, not only to the bee industry, but also to those of us who depend upon the bees to produce a crop. The general public is also concerned about pollinator health, because we know how dependent our food supply around the world is on bees,” Wenger said.

Miller noted the national number of beehives has shrunk to less than half of what it was 70 years ago and the 2013 honey crop could be the smallest ever recorded.

“We’re actually losing this war,” he said. “We can do better. We have to do better.”

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