honeybees

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The Kentucky Department of Agriculture is planning a second public forum on the state's plan to protect pollinators such as honey bees.

Flowers generate weak electric fields, and a new study shows that bumblebees can actually sense those electric fields using the tiny hairs on their fuzzy little bodies.

"The bumblebees can feel that hair bend and use that feeling to tell the difference between flowers," says Gregory Sutton, a Royal Society University Research Fellow at the University of Bristol in the United Kingdom.

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Kentucky’s Department of Agriculture is seeking public input on the state’s first pollinator protection plan. The plan lays out best management practices in an effort to slow the rapid die-off of honeybees and other pollinators.

Keeping honeybees healthy has become a challenge for beekeepers. One main reason is a threat that has been wiping out bees since the late 1980s: the varroa mite.

"It's a parasitic mite that feeds on the blood of adult bees and on the brood. It also transmits virus, and it suppresses the immune system of the bees," explains Penn State honeybee expert Maryann Frazier.

Sergey Lavrentev, 123rf Stock Photo

Bees have been on decline in the western hemisphere for the last 10 or 15 years, says beekeeper hobbyist Jim Gould. This is due to reduction in habitat, invasive pests and an increase in pesticide use. On Sounds Good, Kate Lochte speaks with Gould about how beekeepers can bring populations back from the brink and how people interested in beekeeping can get started, ahead of the McCracken County Master Gardener's Toolbox program next Tuesday.

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Kentucky's chief beekeeper would like to see the numbers of her colleagues grow across the state in 2015. 

 

State Apiarist Tammie Horn said there are only a couple hundred commercial beekeepers in the U.S.  Horn, a senior researcher at Eastern Kentucky University, says the vast majority of those who tend hives in the Commonwealth are part-timers, otherwise known as sideliners.   She said these beekeepers can still see financial benefits.

 

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Tammy Horn will join the State Department of Agriculture in just over a week as Kentucky's new state apiarist.

Horn is a senior researcher at Eastern Kentucky University and nationally known beekeeping authority.  Significant bee loss problems have caused great concern for honey makers for several years.  While there has been a slight improvement in bee numbers in pocketed areas, Horn says it's still a tough situation.
                            
"My role as a state apiarist is very simple, I have to increase bees and I have to increase beekeepers because I am trying to make sure that if there are food 

From NPR: Many fruit and nut farmers rely on honeybee hives to pollinate and continue growing their crop, but the honeybees just can’t do the work by themselves anymore. They need the help of other wild bees to get the job done. Those other bees, though, are disappearing, and it’s puzzling scientists.