COVID may have impacted the life span of bees

COVID may have impacted the life span of bees

VALDOSTA, Ga. (WALB) - Human life is not the only thing COVID has impacted...it’s also impacted the life span of bees.

Prior to the coronavirus, they were dying at alarming rates, which impacts the agriculture industry.

They’ve started to do a little better with the lifestyle changes the world implemented during COVID-19.

The beehives at Valdosta State University (VSU) have been thriving.

“With pollution and the reduction of pollution just because people aren’t driving around or doing a lot of things they used to be doing, that’s definitely improving the life of bees,” said Ted Uyeno, a professor in the biology department at VSU.

He says the collection of beehives began about four years ago.

Currently, in each hive, there may be about 20 to 30 thousand bees in a five frame nuc, which is a bee colony.

The problem is, bees have been dying at alarming rates without any explanation.

Professor Uyeno says it may be from a virus or pesticides but a lot of research needs to be done.

It is crucial to keep bees alive, these are very important for our food chain.

“Every time you eat a strawberry, a full juicy strawberry, it has to be visited by bees between 12 to 25 times. It already is fully pollinated and produces that big beautiful ripped berry. If there aren’t any bees to do that, you won’t have that food,” said Uyeno.

Bees at VSU biology building.
Bees at VSU biology building. (Source: WALB)

Uyeno says there may be other sources of pollinators for some fruits but not for everything.

For example, almonds are exclusively pollinated by these bees.

Barry Futch is with the Environmental occupational safety crew at VSU. He was one of the creators of the bee collection on campus.

His job consists of helping relocate bees from the community and bring them to campus and help keep them alive.

“This year seemed to be pretty good, we didn’t have that many problems this year with them like we had a couple of years before,” said Futch.

In order to keep them alive and thriving, Uyeno says the public can help by having different flowers in the garden that can help attract any type of bees. Keeping them happy may increase numbers.

And try to not use insecticides.

He also says we shouldn’t fear bees.

They like to live in a society and will only sting when they feel threatened. They can also warn other bees and can get aggressive if so.

“The last thing they want to do is hurt you because that’s a suicide mission for them, they don’t survive stinging,” said Uyeno.

VSU faculty and students are studying how to nurture and protect bees and research what causes them to die off.

Bees at VSU biology building.
Bees at VSU biology building. (Source: WALB)

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