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Bees: Vanishing Without a Trace

By: Kristen Ross
By: Kristen Ross

It's all the buzz...colonies of bees vanishing without a trace.

The strange disappearance has baffled many. Only certain colonies are being affected, even ones within the same county.

"Thirty, 40, 50 miles apart, some got it real bad, the others didn't get it at all," said Paul Jackson, a state entomologist.

Experts say finding the root of the cause is puzzling, since the bees appear to be disappearing from the hives into thin air.

"It's hard because they've got really little to work with. There are no bees there. They're gone," said Jackson. "So they have really little evidence to work with at this time."

"So far we may have had a 25% loss, and I hope it's over with," said Binford Weaver, of B. Weaver Apiaries. "But who knows."

As a bee farmer, Weaver has seen a lot of things. His dealings in the bee business began at a young age, but even the bee veteran can't explain the bugs' sudden disappearance.

"It's very, very scary, the stories we are hearing. We haven't suffered quite the collapse that a lot of beekeepers have," said Weaver. "But we have lost a lot of colonies ourselves."

And though Weaver and other beekeepers depend on the colonies of bees for their livelihood, he says the problem is much more widespread.

"If this sort of die-off continues, it will seriously impact the production of fruits and vegetables," said Weaver.

And experts say the sting of this year's loss could extend into the future.

"It's going to be worse next year if we don't find the cause and take some type of action," said Jackson.


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