Nathan Anderson stops his red pick-up truck alongside a cornfield on his farm near Cherokee, Iowa. The young farmer pulls on a heavy brown hoodie, thick long, sturdy yellow gloves and a beekeeperâ€™s hat with a screened veil. He approaches a pair of hives sitting on the edge of a field recently planted with corn.
Honeybees may be among the many victims of this winter's extended stretches of extreme cold. The State Department of Agriculture's Apiarist, Andrew Joseph says annual winter losses among U.S. beekeepers run about 30 percent. Iowa's losses are likely to be 60 to 65 percent. He says bees that are in good shape can survive a very harsh winter, but those that have been weakened by pesticides or parasitesÂ are not likely to survive until spring.
Gardeners and growers depend on the free labor of pollinators to produce fruits and vegetables. One of our most important pollinators, the honey bee, is in trouble world wide. This hour, new research gives us an insight as to why.