honey bees

From the BelleWood Acres farmhouse in Washington's Whatcom County, you can see piles of apple crates and rows of trees that stretch for acres. This is the biggest apple orchard west of the Cascades.

“Spring time’s magical in the orchard,” says John Belisle, who owns the orchard with his wife, Dorie.

“There’s bees everywhere,” Dorie agrees. “The orchards hum with their working.”

Honey Bee Dangers Posed By Fungicides

Feb 13, 2017
Heather Smithers / FLICKR Creative Commons

Researchers studying honeybee die-offs have found a whole new class of chemicals that could be harming these crucial pollinators. That has serious implications for apple growers and other farmers of the Pacific Northwest.

Max Bartlett / Northwest Public Radio

American honey bees don’t do well in winter. It's a serious problem for beekeepers. They experience their biggest losses during winter – and beekeepers lose about a third of their bees every year. We recently looked at efforts to help bees thrive by changing land management practices. Now, researchers at Washington State University and beekeepers in the state are working to help bees withstand the cold and survive the winter. 

U.S. Department of Agriculture

Forty-two percent of America’s honey bees died in 2014. On average, beekeepers lose about 30 percent of their colonies annually – a number seen since 2006. As a trend, the numbers look even worse. In the 1940s there were 5 million managed honey bee colonies. Today, there are half as many.