Some U.S. bees are now endangered and ours could be next - Tri-State News, Weather & Sports

Some U.S. bees are now endangered and ours could be next

(WFIE) (WFIE)
MT. VERNON, IN (WFIE) -

The United States is going to have to work hard to save some if its hardest workers. 

Seven yellow-faced bee species, Hawaii's only native bees, are now on the endangered species list. 

This is the first time that any bees in the United States have been put on the endangered species list. Many of the causes we are already seeing here back in the Tri-State.

We talked with Tim Schaefer at Oasis Country Farms, who tells us that his bees have not been doing well at all this year.

"Been kind of fighting herbicides, a lot," says Schaefer, "most of it's from getting sprayed by farmers."

He says that there are good quality farmers out there but it's a serious problem when they spray right in the peak of the honey flow.

"The bees are out pollinating and that whole field is full of flowers, the bees are out on them, the farmer comes through with 2,4-D and spray the bees and the weeds and then, the next things you know all the bees come back to the hive and they start dying off," says Schaefer.

Or there is a problem with pesticides being sprayed and being carried by the wind over the hives. If the hive isn't killed off completely, it weakens it significantly.

"So all summer long I've been trying to get these hives up to a good healthy hive to produce honey, when they should already be producing because of the honey flow, but they're so weak now," says Schaefer. "So far this year I've started out with 25 hives and I'm down to 11 hives now." 

It took almost 10 years to get the Hawaiian bees on the endangered species list. Our bees may not have that kind of time.

"If we don't stop it now, in ten years it's going to be too late to put them on the endangered species list because there's not going to be enough bees there," says Schaefer.

He says he doesn't have all the answers but suggests for farmers to try other methods such as tilling down their fields, spraying at night when the bees are not in the fields, or spray lower to the ground so the wind does not carry the chemicals as far.

The bees are largely responsible for pollinating many of our fruits and vegetables. If they become endangered, we could be could be in trouble too. 

If you would like to learn more about beekeeping or how to help save the bees, you can contact Tim Schaefer at 812-319-6470.

You can also join the Audubon Beekeepers Association that meets the second Monday of each month at 7 PM. You can find out more information here.

Copyright 2016 WFIE. All rights reserved.

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