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NC facing honeybee shortage

READ MORE: NC facing honeybee shortage
ROCKY POINT -- Much of the food we eat is a direct result of honeybee pollination. But North Carolina faces a honeybee shortage. This means more and more farmers' crops are suffering. A local beekeeper is trying to raise awareness about raising bees. He says the more people who take up beekeeping as a hobby, the better off we all will be. Barry Harris says there are a couple hundred beekeepers in New Hanover, Pender and Brunswick Counties. He says over the past five years farmers have been about 10,000 bees short of what they need to receive crop insurance. Farmers began importing foreign bees to meet pollination requirements. Bees are vanishing across the country and there are several possible reasons: pesticides, not enough food, viruses and something Harris treats his bees for -- mites. You may not realize just how much you depend on these vanishing creatures. Harris said, "People don't realize one third of every mouthful of food they eat, every third mouthful comes directly from bee pollination." Harris says local vegetable and berry farmers are the ones who see the biggest effect from the lack of bee pollination. Harris is part of a new Cape Fear beekeepers club that will be offering beekeepers schools on Saturdays starting in a few weeks. Everyone is welcome, even those with no beekeeping experience. Harris says even one more person who raises bees will alleviate this national shortage. For more info about the Cape Fear Area Beekeepers Club and Saturday Morning Beekeepers' School contact Barry Harris at 910-352-7868.

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Honey bees

It is possible they are becoming sick from the pesticides many people use on their lawns and golf courses. Kill the fire ants, bugs and pests and well then of course it effects the poor bees . It is sad but it is killing us too. I did see some around in our back yard and we don't use poison on our property. Hopefully they will thrive and multiply

NC facing honeybee shortage

In your article the following is stated: "...over the past five years farmers have been about 10,000 bees short of what they need to receive crop insurance." With no current crop insurance in place for honey bees, I am puzzled what the reference is to. Would you please explain? Thank you, donnybaseball

Crop insurance

For a farmer there have to be a certain bee density in the area to have a reasonable chance that a crop that is to grow and be harvested matures correctly. Crop insurance just looks at what the likely outcome at harvest time would be unless bees are imported. Less bees the lower the total yield of the crops. Any fruiting crop like squash, pumpkins, cucumbers, and blueberries obviously need bees to pollinate so they can mature into the desirable food form that we humans eat. Even more complex things come into play with some of the fruits and vegetables. They have to be pollinated from several trips by the bees to produce a fruit form that resembles the complete and desirable end result. Crooked cucumbers are a result of incomplete pollination. Where well pollinated cucumbers are straight a well formed and make better pickles. Bees play a much larger part in making the world go 'round than most people think.