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honeybee numbers continue to fall

 

As honeybee numbers continue to fall, beekeepers offer ways you can help pollinators

By Rosemary Parker | Kalamazoo Gazette


Hoping bees survive

Gazette fileEllen Barnes, who with her husband runs
St. Joe Valley Apiaries in Schoolcraft, checks on newly populated bee hives recently brought back from California's almond groves. The Barnes lost 80 percent of their bees in 2005 to a die-off that researchers are still trying to solve.

Bees are in trouble, everyone can help, and it's as easy as watching the grass grow or stirring a spoonful of honey into a cup of tea.

As they regroup from staggering colony losses averaging 42 percent nationwide last year, commercial and backyard beekeepers alike are putting the call out to every backyard gardener, every suburban homeowner, every grocery shopper and restaurant patron to help keep  honeybees and other insect pollinators alive and on the job.

Homeowners can quit or cut back on the lawn chemicals and back off on the mowing, suggested Otsego beekeeper Caroline Abbott, who manages six hives and is an active member of the Kalamazoo Bee Club.

"I'm not saying you can't mow the lawn," Abbott said. "But in the spring, my yard is full of dandelions, and in the summer, it's full of clover."

Because the plants provide nutrients for honeybees and other pollinating insects, "to me that's beautiful," Abbott said.

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