bees | Texas Public Radio


As there continue to be reports of honeybee colony loss, we get the latest from a researcher who has been looking at the causes of the decline. University of Maryland scientist Dennis vanEngelsdorp talks with Here & Now‘s Robin Young about the factors impacting bee health.

Interview Highlights

On the worst honey bee die off in over a decade

The controversial herbicide Roundup has been accused of causing cancer in humans and now scientists in Texas argue that the world's most popular weed killer could be partly responsible for killing off bee populations around the world.

Think Science: Bees

Aug 20, 2018

Many people have some understanding of why bees (and other pollinators) are important. So at our last Think Science event on August 17, we opened by asking, “Do you like to eat?” This leds to a discussion of the importance of bees in pollination and our food supply, why bees are in trouble, and what we as consumers can do to ensure the health of both the insect population, as well as humans.

Wildfires can have major effects on the forest ecosystem. In southern Oregon, forests are slowly coming back from a 2013 fire. Oregon State University scientists say those blackened forests are a fantastic laboratory to study insects not often associated with forests: native bees.

Jes Burns (@radiojes) of EarthFix reports.

Beekeepers Feel The Sting Of Stolen Hives

Jun 6, 2016

Between December and March, beekeepers send millions of hives to California to pollinate almond trees. Not all of the hives make it back home.

"The number of beehive thefts is increasing," explains Jay Freeman, a detective with the Butte County Sheriff's Office.

In California, 1,734 hives were stolen during peak almond pollination season in 2016. In Butte County alone, the number of stolen hives jumped from 200 in 2015 to 400 this year, according to Freeman.

Keeping honeybees healthy has become a challenge for beekeepers. One main reason is a threat that has been wiping out bees since the late 1980s: the varroa mite.

"It's a parasitic mite that feeds on the blood of adult bees and on the brood. It also transmits virus, and it suppresses the immune system of the bees," explains Penn State honeybee expert Maryann Frazier.

Overturning a 136-year-old ban, the Los Angeles City Council voted on Wednesday to legalize urban beekeeping.

Once the ordinance is signed by the mayor, Los Angeles will join cities including New York, San Francisco and Washington in allowing beekeeping. There is even a beehive on the White House grounds.


Colony collapse disorder and increasing parasitic problems have been ravaging honey bee hives in the US for a long time, but the dramatic die off of 40 percent of the nation's hives this winter sounded alarms again on the issue of pollinators and the crops that rely on them. 

Jack Morgan

There’s a lot of buzz about a project hovering above the Omni San Antonio Hotel at the Colonnade. Enter the Omni lobby and look up. About three floors above you, outside the window you’ll see tell-tale white, stacked boxes sitting in an unusual rooftop garden.


"On the roof here we have ten beehives," explained Walter Schumacher with pride.

Schumacher is the director of Central Texas Bee Rescue.  Those bees invaded a San Antonio home last August.  Schumacher removed them and moved them to the Omni's roof garden.

One in every three bites of food the average American consumes is either directly or indirectly pollinated by honeybees. In the past decade, the news about honeybees hasn’t been good, with bee colonies dying off at a 30 percent clip, sometimes under mysterious circumstances.