Farmers pay the price for winter toll on bees

Local

WICHITA, Kan. (KSNW) – This winter has been a cold one thus far and beekeepers say that may have an effect on our Spring Harvest. Bees are not just the Kansas state insect, they are also responsible for 1 out of 3 bites of food we eat, everyday.

“During the winter season, bees have a hard time finding food,” said bee keeper, Candy Vinduska.

These cold temperatures come with a number of concerns, including those of farmers who say they use bees to pollinate their crops.

“Right now, there’s no nectar and no pollen out there.”

The shortage of food can eventually start to kill off bees.

“If you are a bee keeper, your biggest responsibility is to keep your bees alive,” said Vinduska.

Which can be hard to do when there’s a shortage of food however, Vanduska says this is the time that the bees need their keepers the most.

“Sometimes bees are not able to collect enough honey to make it through the winter,” she said. “This is the time that keepers need to make sure their hives have enough honey supply for the bees to eat off of and we also need to learn the importance of pollen in the bees’ diet. It’s very important for them to have pollen during the winter.”

Some bee keepers have experienced frozen hives this winter but Vinduska says that’s not the biggest concern.

“Bees huddle together to keep their hives at a 90 degree temperature and they do this all winter.”

Vanduska is the head of the Kansas Honey Producers Association. They hold monthly meetings in Wichita to educate farmers and bee keepers on how to keep healthy bees and healthy crops. For information on events, click here.


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