Missouri Bee Keepers Fight Against Colony Collapse Disorder
COLUMBIA - 200 bee keepers gathered at Walk About Acres in Columbia to learn how to install packaged bees into a hive. Mid-Missourians are fighting against Colony Collapse Disorder (CCD), a phenomenon in which worker bees from a beehive or colony abruptly disappear.
CCD hit the state of Missouri five years ago. Walk About Acre's Co-Owner Art Gelder had 80 hives at the time and lost a devastating 45 percent of them. Gelder said a lot of bees were lost over the winter because of the hot, dry summer. The flowers didn't produce enough nectar for the bees to pollinate and produce honey to survive during the winter months.
As the snow began to melt from two large snowstorms this past winter, the bees started flying again. However, when it turned cold again and the bees returned to the hive to cluster for the snow, they could not produce heat effectively to keep themselves warm enough to survive.
The hive demonstration was lead by Jim Duever. Duever showed the bee keepers how to expand overcrowded hives, remove frames, introduce the queen, and look for warning signs of a bad hive. Since the number of bee keepers in Missouri is growing, the demonstration was aimed at teaching how to install the bees and taking care of them after the instillation process.
High school student Tori Brumbaugh is new to the bee keeping business. After studying for two years and becoming involved in bee keeping, this marks her first year actively integrating a hive. Brumbaugh will be attending the Missouri State Fair in August to demonstrate how to integrate a bee hive project.
Director of the Missouri Department of Agriculture, Jon Hagler, came by Walk About Acres to pick up his box of packaged bees as well. His wife, State Representative Linda Black, gave the bees to Dr. Hagler as a birthday gift.
"Bees have a substantial impact on production of agriculture through out the U.S. and with the Colony Collapse Disorder, it's more important than ever to have people pick up and try to help populate the bee population," said Dr. Hagler.
Bees are the most important pollinators in our world bringing nearly 85 percent of plants to life. Bees and other pollinators are largely responsible for food quality and food security.
Despite these important contributions, bees are often overlooked or rejected by people. There are other simple ways to help bees besides being a bee keeper, including planting wildflowers, growing a garden and supporting organic farmers. These steps can help bees and other pollinators sustain longer, healthier lives.