PEMISCOT COUNTY, MO (KFVS) - Springtime is here and that means honey bees are back at work. That's good news for us because, what you may may not know is, they're working for us.
Experts say bees play a big role in growing crops and flowers, but the bee population is on the decline.
"We start by applying a little bit of smoke so it can get in there," Matt Duckworth, a lab technician at Fischer Delta Research Center, said.
Bees are one of nature's most hard working insects.
"Right here you see that comb they're making," Duckworth said. "And that's what we want to see."
While we all love their honey, that's far from their only job.
"These bees go out and they pollinate," Duckworth said. "We have crops all around here, soybeans, cotton, they help increase the yield of these crops by pollinating them."
Experts at Fischer Delta Research Center said one in every four bites of food we eat was grown with the help of pollinators like bees. However, each year the bee population declines by at least 33 percent.
"Right now a lot of factors that are affecting for the bees decline are the diseases and the pests," research assistant Professor Dr. Moneen Jones said.
That's why Jones has headed up efforts to help save the bees. First, through an online program that protects hives from pesticides used in farming.
"The aerial applicators are able to look on this drift watch map and see the locations, put it in the GPS and then when they spray, they know the exact locations," Jones said.
He also said Missouri is now one of four states to offer a new beekeeping certification program.
"What's happening is there's the beginning beekeepers, and then after a year they drop out," Jones said.
More education means more long lasting beekeeping and more healthy hives. It's all so more bees can help do what bees do best.
"If you give them space, they will fill it," Duckworth said.
The research center also makes beeswax products, like lip balm and lotion, which they sell to raise money for more research and programs.
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