Honeybee population plummeting; global warming could be to blame

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COLUMBIA — In the past year, the honeybee population dropped 44 percent in the United States, this according to a recent study funded by the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

One local beekeeper said she thinks it's time people start taking this problem seriously. 

"They're just telling us something very important about our environment and our food system, and we should be paying attention to what that means," said Sarah Cramer, a beekeeper at Jefferson Farm and Gardens. "If they just die every year because we haven't addressed the bigger factors then we're not getting anywhere."

Cramer said bees - especially wild breeds - play a crucial role to our ecosystem, and the declining population could become a threat to our food system, as well.

According to the Natural Resources Conservation Service's website, "scientists estimate that one out of every three bites of food we eat exists because of animal pollinators like bees."

Climate change is not the only contributor to the drop in the honeybee population.

According to a report released by the Associated Press, neonicotinoid - a pesticide used on some crops - could be contributing to the decline.

Cramer said threats like these could hinder the way we do agriculture in our country. 

"It's kinda scary, it's really hard to be a beekeeper, it's really hard to keep hives going through the winter, and it seems to get harder every year," Cramer said.  That's kind of scary because of their effect on our food system."

Jefferson Farm and Gardens reopened this year after MU purchased the land.

On Saturday, the farm held its first public beekeeping session. The farm's director, Amy Dooley, said anyone is welcome to come learn about honeybees.