SULPHUR, LA (KPLC) - Their work affects so much of the food we eat, but their numbers are dwindling.
“80 percent of the food we eat is dependent on insects for pollinating. Most of it is done by honey bees,” Randy Fair, President of the Louisiana Beekeepers Association said.
The 57th annual Louisiana Beekeepers Association's convention was held this week in Sulphur to help people realize the importance of honey bees and the decline they’re facing in population.
“You’ll hear it on the news a lot that there is colony collapse,” Fair said. “A lot of it has to do with loss of habitat. Farm land is becoming more urban, more houses going up. So, you either got to continually move them, or find some other habitat where they can feed all year-round.”
Fair said the chemicals we use in agriculture and personal gardening products are another factor in the decline in bees.
“So much agriculture and the use of fungicides, pesticides, and herbicides; if it gets into the pollen on the plants and they feed that to their young bees, they don’t grow like they’re supposed to,” Fair said.
He says if we don't change how we grow our crops, it could have a ripple effect into other parts of our diet.
“Oh, it will change everything,” Fair said. “People say they eat beef. Well, cattle farmers feed their cattle when they’re fattening them up. Soy beans, corn, alfalfa hay; all that is dependent on honeybee’s pollination.”
Fair says conventions like this are drawing new faces and accomplishing what the LBA set out to do, make the public more aware.
“We’ve got some people here that aren’t bee keepers, but they’re going to get into it now that they’ve been to the conference,” Fair said.