Face The State: Bee Population in Decline - KTVN Channel 2 - Reno Tahoe News Weather, Video -

Face The State: Bee Population in Decline

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Honey bees are responsible for pollinating roughly 30% of the world's crops, but since about 2006 their numbers have been dropping. It's a phenomenon known as "colony collapse disorder" and it could become a big problem for farmers.

Bees are really important for the agriculture industry. So for Face the State this week I paid a visit to a beekeeper at Murry Ranch in Pleasant Valley to see how the bees are faring in northern Nevada.

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"It used to be you'd just put some bees and they'd go, now it just seems like you're constantly having to re-queen and replace beehives."

Albert Sindlinger has been keeping bees for about 15 years in northern Nevada.

Sindlinger sells his local honey to people seeking relief from allergies or other health conditions thought to be improved with the enzymes in the honey. Six hives contain about 500,000 honey bees which produces as much as 15 barrels a year.

But for the last few years he's experienced the same phenomenon that beekeepers are seeing across the country. It's a difficulty keeping bees alive for a reason they can't quite pinpoint. But one thing is for sure, this bee problem is definitely a human problem. "Bees are totally connected to the environment, so if you're putting toxins in the environment, bees just collect whatever is in their environment and then they bring it back."

According to the Environmental Protection Agency the use of pesticides on crops that bees visit could be a major contributing factor to the colony collapse. But they could also be reacting to climate change and extreme weather patterns like droughts and floods.

And the USDA estimates that about a third of the foods we eat are produced through honey bee pollination. "Bees are a big part of our agricultural economy."

That means that if the honeybee populations continue to dwindle the $15 billion ag industry would take a big hit. Prices to grow foods could skyrocket passing the cost on to the consumer.        

If you'd like to get some of the Murry Ranch local honey for yourself, call them at (775) 848-9086.

And if you'd like to watch the full segment on local bees and how to make your garden bee-friendly, tune in for Face the State this weekend Saturday at 4:30 am and on Sunday at 2:30 am and 6:30 am.

Written  by Arianna Bennett
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