Local Bee Population Healthy After Successful Winter
PRINCESS ANNE, Md. – This past winter proved to be the deadliest for honey bees across the United States, but here on the Eastern Shore, it’s a completely different story.
“We only lost three bee hives this year, as opposed to the 36 from last year,” Jim Leether, a local beekeeper and owner of Victory Garden Apiary, said.
Leether says Spring on Delmarva has been great for the bees.
“We’ve had very good weather also, and the bees are producing, they’re very healthy right now,” Dean Burroughs, owner of Dean’s Honey, said.
But that isn’t the case nationwide. According to the Bee Informed Partnership, about 38% of honeybees died off this past winter, a number local beekeepers didn’t quite see this year, but the population here hasn’t always been buzzing.
“The bad winter that we had, I lost colonies that were 60,000 bees strong,” Leether said.
“We’ve lost so many bees over the year to disease, that they’re not there,” Burroughs said.
And with $15 billion worth of crops depending on these hardworking honeybees each year, a lot of which are grown right here on the Eastern shore, a successful Spring is a win for everybody.
“There’s a saying that’s true, that about 1/3 of the food we eat, of every bite, is pollinated by bees, and other insects, too, but mainly honeybees,” Burroughs said.
And with a Spring this good, local beekeepers are hopeful for another successful winter.