Planting variety of flowers could help local bee populations

Since 2006 there has been a dramatic decline in the number of bees and the number of beekeepers in this country. Diane Cox-Foster, research leader at the Utah State University – U.S. Department of Agriculture Bee Lab, says that has meant serious losses not only in bee colonies (which are are losing up to 45% of their honeybees on an annual basis) but also stressing the food supply system.

On <a href=”http://610kvnu.com/assets/podcaster/324/2016_04_05_324_43467_2867.mp3″ target=”_blank”>KVNU’s For the People program Monday</a>, Cox-Foster said there are numerous reasons for the decline which is causing stresses not only for beekeepers but also the natural ecosystem.

She said pesticides have been one problem and another is lack of good floral resources.

“It’s not just one type of flower that you would need to plant in your yard,” said Cox-Foster, “but try to plant a variety of flowers that would bloom all season long. It’s also important to consider what type of variety of flower you’re planting.

“It turns out that for horticultural purposes people have been breeding flowers that might not have as much pollen, such as pollen-less sunflowers that when you cut them they won’t shed pollen all over your table when you bring them in.”

She said beekeepers should closely monitor their colony losses, try to insulate their colonies from rapid drop in temperature and when there are problems to contact credible resources, like the Bee Lab at USU.

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