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RESEARCH MIGHT BE ABLE TO HELP PRESENT HONEYBEE WINTER DIE-OFF

Bees, Wasps, Hornets, Yellow Jackets

RESEARCH MIGHT BE ABLE TO HELP PRESENT HONEYBEE WINTER DIE-OFF

Winter is a really tough season on many pests including the honeybee. Nevada and most of the national is experiencing a colder than average winter and that means no pollen for food, and hives can starve to death while pests and disease problems are on the rise.

In the state of Virginia recent winters have killed off about one-third of all Virginia bee colonies. At Virginia State - apiarist Keith Tignor is hoping his research on greenhouse bee farming could make a difference for many hives. He has been studying about two dozen honeybee hives at Virginia State University’s Randolph Farm. Some hives are wrapped in foam insulation and some in fiberglass battens like in a home attic. Some hives are housed in small high tunnels, which are unheated structures similar to greenhouses. He’s testing to see which methods, if any, help the hives stay warmer in winter.

So far, the hives in high tunnels are doing well said Tignor, and the structures cost only about $75 each to build. He went on to say “As it gets warmer the queen starts producing eggs, and they start to forage more.” Using a high tunnel, “We can start to warm up the hive a little faster … and allow those bees to progress a little further in the season.”

More research is underway throughout the United States to identify solutions to the problem of winter die-off of honeybees.

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