Honey Bee Shortage

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The bee population has been declining and it's a phenomenon that has had a big impact on farmers and the average consumer.

For years, scientists were stumped, trying to figure out why bees were vanishing.

It's a tiny mite, about the size of the tip of a pencil, which is causing an imbalance with Mother Nature. The mite latches onto bees and sucks the life out of them. And when they don't kill them, it passes on a deadly virus, causing the entire bee population to decline.

"It's very serious primarily to the agriculture industry because $15 billion pollination for fruits and vegetables," said Phillip Carter, Wildlife Agent.

Pesticides and loss of habitat contribute to the decline of the bee. But scientists mostly blame the mite and virus.

In California, acres and acres of pecan trees are being affected, but across the nation as a whole, farmers are feeling the sting because the little worker is disappearing.

"Researchers are begging legislatures for more money to research into it and see if they can alter - do some genetic modification of the honeybees to increase the different traits in them and minimize the harm that the mites cause," said Carter.

Agents at the Alabama cooperative extension system are asking people that if they find a hive to not kill the bees.

Instead, call the office and they will send someone out to gather them and take them away.

You can reach the extension office at 794-4108 or log on to their Web site at www.aces.edu and to find out more about the bee, Landmark Park offers various classes during the summer.