YORK — Flooding wasn’t the only problem caused by the rainiest year on record.Area beekeepers are predicting the largest hive loss in years for Pennsylvania. Usually, the area sustains a 30 percent to 40 percent hive loss, but they are expecting around 50 percent this year."there are quite a few crops that are dependent upon honey bees," said incoming York County Beekeepers’ Association president Julie Kurtz. "Native pollinators do a very good job pollinating flowers, but with orchards full of apple trees and big fields of pumpkins, you need to have heavy-duty pollinators."And honey bees are considered to be workaholics. At the height of the season, there are roughly 60,000 honey bees in one hive, compared with about 50 bumble bees in one nest."Honey bees are the only bees that produce above and beyond what they need to maintain their hive and their population," added Kurtz, of Bald Hills Apiary in Conewago Township. "That’s why we can harvest their honey."thus, commercial agriculture is where honey bees are most needed. one hive pollinates about 8,000 acres, according to outgoing York County Beekeepers’ Association president Jeremy Barnes.This year’s wet weather severely disrupted the bees’ foraging efforts because they don’t fly in the rain. With the high number of rainy days, bees were forced to stay inside. every day they were inside, they had to eat some of their stored food, thus falling two more days behind schedule.Honey bees, which don’t hibernate, require at least 60 pounds of stored honey in order to survive winter.to put that into perspective, one bee collects 1/12 of a teaspoon in her lifetime. The less food there is at the beginning of winter, the more bleak the survival rate.to complicate matters, the queen bee normally lays eggs for the colony in January. in January and February, the consumption of stored honey drastically increases because the baby bees and the adult bees now need to eat. Continued…
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