lots of buzz about bees these days. Some areas of the nation are worried that
nature’s little pollinators are dwindling, which affects crop production. Mary
Donaldson investigates how bee populations in Alaska are doing.
occasional sting, bees have very important roles for pollinating plants and
crops across the country, so a drop in their population can have quite an
Janice Chumley, the integrated pest
management technician for the University
of Alaska’s Cooperative Extension
Services in Soldotna says honey bees, which are not native to Alaska, seem to be having difficulties.
(Chumley 2 :25s “…favorable weather conditions.”)
I asked if she thought bee
populations in state are declining, and she says as far as Alaska’s native pollinators, there really
isn’t much of a change.
(Chumley 1 :28s “…thriving in that.”)
Conditions haven’t been very
warm, seeing how many areas of the state, including Kodiak, saw snow showers as
late as April. She also says people with bee hives may be experiencing larger
problems besides weather changes.
(Chumley 3 :17s “…the way they do.”)
Colony collapse disorder is a
mystery phenomenon where the worker bees in a colony disappear. The National
Resource Defense Council says their absence leads to a ghost town colony. The
drop in numbers could come from a number of unconfirmed causes, such as climate
changes, pesticides, mites or poor nutrition.
is the vice president for the Southcentral Alaska Beekeepers Association and
says any disappearance of bees this summer in Alaska is because of weather and how the bee
hives are cared for, not colony collapse disorder.
3 :28s “…try to find some.”)
Marshall cares for 10 bee
In Alaska, the need for bees for agricultural
purposes isn’t really present compared to the rest of the nation says Chumley. Across
the U.S., fruits and veggies can't grow without honeybees, and the dying-off of
these hard-working pollinators could put $15 billion dollars worth of U.S. crops at risk,
says the NRDC. The US Department of Agriculture says honey bees in Alaska are imported each
year and are generally killed off when the winter months arrive, while new bees
are then purchased again in the next season.
says there are 19 species of bees found in Alaska, compared to the 49 species found