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Local beekeepers say inconsistent temperatures impact bees in se - KOAM TV 7

Local beekeepers say inconsistent temperatures impact bees in several ways

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Local beekeepers say the inconsistent temperatures we have seen this winter have an impact on bees in several ways.

Beekeepers are putting in more hours working to ensure the hives remain alive and well.

A mild winter brings more active bees, and more work for beekeepers like Victoria Carpenter.

"Beekeepers really need to pay attention to the warmer weather and be giving sugar water as a supplement," Carpenter said.

Carpenter says high temperatures increase the demand for food, and also increase the risk of disease within the hive.

"Bees genetically are very weak, so they're pretty susceptible," Carpenter said.

Pest control is also an issue.

"I have to work harder because of the pests that are involved," said Dale Foley, president of the Joplin Area Beekeepers Association. "The small hive beetle is a pest that could really mess up a honey hive."

Another complication is brought by drastic drops in temperature.

"The bees can migrate across the hive looking for food and they get caught there as night comes a long," Foley said. "The temperature drops and they have to cluster in smaller clusters. If it stays cold for a long period of time, they could freeze to death."

Foley says if beekeepers do not alter the way they do their job in accordance with the weather changes, the bees could die off, creating a significantly negative impact to our region.

"We wouldn't lose our total crops, but it would get mighty bland eating," he said. "It would really hurt us because a lot of plants have to be pollinated by a pollinator."

Foley says keeping the bee population healthy requires collaboration.

"The more experienced beekeepers are telling the newer and less experienced beekeepers what to look for," Foley said.

"It may kick us at the end of February and March, so we're just doing all we can," Carpenter said.

The Joplin Area Beekeepers Association will address any questions regarding how to keep bees healthy during fluctuating temperatures at their next meeting, on Tuesday, Feb. 24, at the Southwest Missouri Bank Community Building in Duquesne.
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