Ongoing bee shortage affecting beekeepers across SWGA

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Published: Aug. 17, 2022 at 10:41 AM EDT
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TIFTON, Ga. (WALB) - Beekeepers across southwest Georgia are experiencing some challenges because of a bee shortage.

Honeybees are responsible for about 80% of the world’s pollination. And of course, they make some of our favorite food a little bit sweeter.

The bee shortage is not anything that beekeepers are just now realizing. This has been an issue for them for over 40 years now.

Habitat loss, disease, parasites and environmental contaminants have all contributed to the decline of many species of pollinators, including bees.

Alan Owens is the owner of Odom Apiaries. Owens said the population growth has put a strain on farmers and beekeepers. The bee shortage affects both because bees pollinate food crops.

“The bee shortage started happening in the late 1980s with the Asian varroa mite coming into our country. We have been battling the mites on honeybees for years and years,” he said.

Pollinators are critical to our food supply. Owens said more than 30% of the world’s food and flowering plants include 130 fruits and vegetable plants — all of which depend on insect pollination.

Owens said inflation is another challenge he and his bee business are facing.

“With the economy the way it is, the cost of everything is going up and it’s going up faster than the cost of our product. It’s been an uphill battle for the last couple of years,” Owens said.

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