honey bees

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A Purdue University study has found a popular type of pesticide – found across nearly half the state -- can be lethal to honeybees. But a leading producer of the chemicals is striking back against those claims.

Neonicotinoid insecticides are used in planting corn crops, and the study says more than 94-percent of honey bees are at risk of exposure in the state.

Indiana Bee Deaths Down Since 2015

May 13, 2016
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The U.S. Department of Agriculture reports Indiana lost fewer honey bee colonies in the first quarter of this year than the first quarter of 2015, when the state lost 22-percent of its 9,500 colonies.

The Honey Bee Colony Loss Survey reports this year’s first quarter loss is 12-percent.

Specially-Bred Purdue Bees Are Biting Back

Oct 28, 2015
Sarah Fentem / WBAA

  

For around a decade, beekeepers have seen around one-quarter to one-third of their colonies die every year. There are many potential causes for the die-off, but most scientists agree a parasitic mite is a major factor.

Purdue entomologist Greg Hunt says if a bee were human-sized, the mite would be about the size of a balled-up fist. Other scientists say the size is more comparable to a pancake.

But now, Purdue University scientists have bred special bees that are biting back.

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The federal government will spend millions of dollars trying to figure out why honeybees and monarch butterflies are disappearing.

Purdue entomology professor Christian Krupke says the study—which will include several federal agencies-- is long overdue.

He says the consensus is that there are a number of factors that have led to the decline of honeybees.

"Pathogens, parasites, pesticides and habitat availability," says Krupke. "Which of those ranks first largely depends on where those particular bees reside."

Psycho Delia / https://www.flickr.com/photos/24557420@N05/

Indiana beekeepers lost about half of the bees in their colonies this past year, according to a new study from the USDA’s Bee Informed Partnership.

In 2013, Indiana bee colonies were hit hard. Only about 35 percent of the bees survived — making Indiana’s losses some of the worst in the country. But this past year wasn’t as bad. Beekeepers lost about 51 percent of their bees, slightly higher than the national average.

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SCOTT SIMON, HOST:

The honey bee population of North America is in decline. That fact has even acquired an acronym, CCD, Colony Collapse Disorder. A number of theories have been advanced as to why honey bees are dwindling, including viruses, mites and various fungi.