A new study from Cornell indicates New York's honey bee population could be gone in two years. And it's all caused by a tiny microscopic mite that is infecting the hives of bee keepers across the state.

Most of us only get concerned about the stinging prospects of the honey bee, but they are a must have for the development and pollination of several New York vegetable and produce crops.

Researchers studied more than 300 colonies across the state last fall and found 90% of them had varroa mites. One of the devastating problems caused by these pests is deformed wing virus which makes it impossible for the bees to fly. That was found in 96% of the colonies.

The number of mites found is the really scary part, researchers say 78% of the colonies studied had 3 mites or more per 100 bees. That indicates the colony will die within 2 years. The end result would be devastating for New York's apples, squash, tomatoes, strawberries and cherries crops that depend on pollination from bees.

You can read more on monitoring for mites and how to control them if discovered is available at Cornell's website.

SOURCE:  Cornell Cooperative Extension

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