By Jillian Marshall
April 18, 2014
Updated Apr 18, 2014 at 7:36 PM EDT
Kirkwood, NY (WBNG Binghamton) Spring is here and the warmer weather is bringing out all the insects and animals. But bees aren't buzzing like they used to in New York.
In the state of New York and in the Southern Tier, bee colonies' populations are dwindling.
Sue Garing, a Kirkwood bee keeper, said it's because of Colony Collapse Disorder.
Garing said a large part of the disorder is the varroa mite. The mite, who is similar to a tick, punches holes into the hard shell of the bee, making it vulnerable for viruses and bacteria.
There are more than 50,000 beehives in New York and together they produce more than 2.5 million pounds of honey a year.
But it's not just honey production that suffers, the decline comes at a steep price for our environment, our farms, and economy.
Garing said bees affect two thirds of the foods we eat, and if they are gone, so is the food.
For example, it takes at least two hives per acre to pollinate apple trees.
Another reason for the decline is what humans are doing.
"The insidiousness of what we're doing to the environment, introducing a lot of chemicals to the environment and literally paving over the food resources of bees and other creatures," Garing said.
For first-time bee keeper Bob Nolan, of McDonough, the decline of these honey-making machines is just another reason to start his own bee colony and pollinate more.
"We put in 80 blueberry bushes so we hope the bees will help pollinate the blueberry bushes," Nolan said.
In February, U.S. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand (D) called upon the U.S. Department of Agriculture, the USDA, to investigate into the bee population loss to help strengthen farms and build back bee colonies.