Beekeepers hope to keep their business swarming

LAKE CHARLES, LA (KPLC) - Lake area beekeepers are beginning their spring season in hopes of fighting the worldwide shortage of bees.

Worldwide the bee population has declined almost 50 percent in the last 50 years, according to scientists.

Clyde Conner, a beekeeper from Lake Charles, lost 10 percent to 15 percent of his hives last winter.

"We did a little better than average," said Conner. "Some bee keepers are losing 30 to 60 percent of their hives."

Factors that contribute to the bee decline include the colony collapse disorder.

"This has all of the scientists baffled," said Conner. "We're not real sure what is causing that but it is happening."

Other factors that contribute to the bee decline include pesticides such as the small hive beetle, nosema, and vero myte.

Honey bees are known to be the most prolific pollinators of fruits and vegetables.

"If the bees went away today about 30 percent of our food would go away almost immediately," said Conner. "So those plants would cease to exist."

Conner is urging residents to refrain from killing bees in an effort to save the bee population.

"If people have a swarm of bees it would be preferable to have a bee keeper to come and get them rather than spray them down with wasp spray," said Conner."We do need our bees and we'd like to keep them alive."

The Animal Control office in Lake Charles can provide you with a list of beekeepers in the area who can pick up the hives.

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