Long winter kills bees, could affect crops

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — Another victim of this long winter could ultimately affect your next trip to the grocery store.

During the winter, honey bees cluster together and vibrate their wing muscles to stay warm. However, becuase this winter has been so long and cold, the honey bees have eaten up all the stored honey and might starve to death or freeze to death.

Farmers and growers use people like Don Lam to supply them with bees in the spring to make sure their crops get pollinated.

“90% of our bee keeps have lost most of their bees this winter in this area,” Lam said.

Soon Lam will head down to Georgia to replace his bee crops, but he placed his order last year and his supplier has told him anyone looking for extra bees is out of luck.

Suppliers are sold out, which means farms, not just here in Michigan but througout the Midwest, will have fewer bees to pollinate crops.

“Somebody raising apples, blueberries or crops like that needs the bees to come in a do the pollinating for them. That pollination success is based on sheer numbers; you just need sheer numbers of bees to come in a pollinate those flowers,” Lam said.

Fewer bees means fewer apples and blueberries this year; ultimately you could see the prices of those products at the grocery store go up.

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