Watch: Bee Killer Problem Getting Worse
Whatever is killing the nation's - and the north country's - honeybees isn't stopping.
"I've been hearing all winter long about guys out in the midwest that are losing 95 percent of their operation," Ted Elk, a beekeeper from Hammond, told 7 News Monday.
Elk's comments came in the wake of a New York Times report that the malady killing honeybees 'appears to have expanded drastically in the last year.'
(Read the full report here.)
Although there is no definitive cause for "colony collapse disorder," the name given to whatever wipes out large portions of a bee colony's population, the newspaper reported it may be linked to a new class of pesticides known as neonicotinoids.
The pesticide industry disputes that, the New York Times reported.
Elk is a commercial beekeeper, and takes his 800 hives on the road to pollinate spring crops before he returns them to Hammond to make honey.
He has seen the effect of colony collapse disorder firsthand.
"I lose somewhere between 35 and 45 percent of my bees every year," he said.
Bees are critical to many kinds of crops, especially fruit trees.
"If we didn't have bees - large quantities of these social bees - to pollinate, we wouldn't have those fruits," said Sue Gwise, from Cornell Cooperative Extension of Jefferson County.
Monday, March 10, 2014, Watertown, NY
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