SYRACUSE N.Y. (NCC News) – Dozens of beekeepers in New York State met Friday at Embassy Suites hotel to discuss problems facing beekeepers all over the states.
Daniel W. Winter, the President of Empire State Honey Producers Association (ESHPA) said the meeting is an annual convention that allows beekeepers in the state to meet and reflect about the industry. “Every year in November, we bring bee keepers all over the state and companies working in the industry for two days to discuss issues facing beekeeping and listen to experts in the field ,” said Winter.
Researchers from Cornell University and other experts were present and they made presentations. One of the research reports indicated a huge loss of colonies in the past 10 years in New York State. Dr. Dewey Caron, a retired professor said the state lost more than half of their colonies.
“Good number of those losses are over wintering period when bees must rely on resources that they have stored through the active season by foraging on flowers,” said Caron.
The challenges include too many bees and not enough flowers, lack of labourers, and transportations. The major problem is the varroa mite, a pest which feeds on the honey bee. Unfortunately it is difficult to eliminate the pest without harming the honey bee.
“You are trying to kill a pest that’s on another beneficial insect. We don’t want to harm the honey bee but we want to kill the pest. So it is a little bit of a challenge,” said Dr. Caron.
He said only some chemical can be used to selectively eliminate the mite without harming the honey bee or the products that they are going to use.
John Miller, a bee keeper recognises that beekeeping has greatly changed. “The difference now for bee keeping for us is we do more pollination services and less honey production. In my grandfather’s day it was honey production not pollination services,” said Miller.
Dr. Caron argues that the relation between beekeepers and crop farmers is important because they rely on each other to sustain their farming.