Caring for Land

Bees are busier than ever as disease besieges colonies

by Adrian Higgins The Washington Post, Monday, March 15, 2010

In normal times, David Hackenberg would begin trucking his 20 million honeybees from the almond orchards of California to the orange groves of Florida this week.

Instead, after a month working the almond blossoms on the West Coast, his exhausted pollinators will get some rest and relaxation in the Georgia woods before the East Coast apple blossoms summon them to work once more next month.

These are not normal times for bees, or for commercial beekeepers, so Hackenberg's pollinators will skip the citrus gig to reduce their exposure to pesticides and get some rest. "Everybody is seeing [bee] losses this winter," said Hackenberg, of Lewisburg, Pa. "This was probably the worst year ever."