‘Pollinator Week’ shines light on decreasing bee populations


SPRINGFIELD, Mass (WWLP) — It’s Pollinator Week, the days set aside to recognize the importance of protecting pollinators, like bees. But it’s not just bee populations that are decreasing, it’s other important pollinators, too.

A University of New Hampshire study found more than a dozen bee species are on the decline, by as much as 90 percent.

They’re essential for pollinating many fruit trees and plants in New England. And not just bumble and honey bees, but also leaf-cutter and mining bees that nest in the ground.

It’s a world-wide problem, with scientists blaming insecticides, disease, climate change and food supply.

22News spoke with Nate Sperry, the Vice President of the Hampden County Beekeepers Association to find out exactly what is happening.

Parasites called varroa mites might also be a contributing factor.

“So what they do is they, they’re a parasite that gets onto those bees, and weakens them and transmits viruses to them and so forth,” Sperry said. “So it can be a bit of a problem in regards to the winter survival of honey bees.”

Penn State research found that U.S. beekeepers have lost approximately 30 percent of their colonies every year since 2006. But bees aren’t the only pollinators.

Listed as federally endangered or threatened pollinator species; certain flies, bats, birds, butterflies and moths.

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