We all love what bees do–they pollinate beautiful flowers for us to see and enjoy, they produce sweet delicious honey for us to taste and cook with, but people in Oklahoma may notice that there don’t seem to be as many bees around lately. Beekeepers have noticed a 63% decrease in Oklahoma bee population in recent years, higher than any other state in the US. This is a huge problem because the fewer bees there are in our lovely state, the fewer flowers you will see, and the more expensive honey will get.
Beekeepers have identified two main culprits causing bee numbers to drop so significantly: parasites and pesticides. There is a parasite called the varroa mite, which came to America from Asia in the 90s. This pest attaches to the bees, killing them. This parasite is the number one cause of bee deaths in Oklahoma. The number two cause is pesticides sprayed onto the plants that bees pollinate, such as apples, melons, almonds, alfalfa, and other foods we humans love. If bees die out in Oklahoma, all of their crucial pollination will be lost, so beekeepers are working around the clock to find a way to save them.