Warmer Texas Winter Negatively Impacting Bees

Dallas Morning News writer Jackie Wang reported late last month that, “Austin, Texas Honeybees usually take winters off. But when it’s 50 degrees and sunny, the bees are flying and dying faster.

“Beekeeper Blake Shook raises bees commercially in the Collin County town of Blue Ridge. The 27-year-old has been beekeeping since he was 13. He’s seen firsthand the decline in the insects’ health since 2006, when the great bee die-off from Colony Collapse Disorder was first reported.”

The article noted that, “Every year, billions of bees are sent to almond farms in California to pollinate the trees. Without them, almond production would take a nosedive.

The U.S. bee industry lost 44 percent of its bees from 2015 to 2016 and 40 percent the year before that. This year, there were reports from south-central Texas of honeybees waking up early in January, when temperatures rose higher than usual, according to Agrilife Today, a Texas A&M agriculture publication. Whenever bees look for food and can’t find any, they end up eating stored honey and wear their bodies out faster.”

The article added that, “While beekeepers have developed methods to restore the numbers lost during the winter, it’s not a perfect system. At the current industry rate, bees will not reproduce at a fast enough rate to keep up with demand, Shook said.

“So the Texas Beekeepers Association plans to urge lawmakers to protect major nectar sources for bees so the bees can thrive. Shook, a board member, said the group has other ideas in the works, such as trying to get a honeybee license plate to fund research and lobbying during the 2019 legislative session to update the bees and honey chapter of the Agricultural Code.”

“‘It’s a complex issue, with these bees,’ [Chris Moore, president of the Texas Beekeepers Association] said. ‘Property is sold and developed every day. All your habitats for birds, deer, for bees everything’s diminishing, dwindling every day.'”

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