ALTAMONT, N.Y. (NEWS10) — Sometimes we can take the “smaller” things in life for granted. Take honey bees for example. Our very existence is tied to the insect, yet their numbers are on the decline.
NEWS10’s Anya Tucker travelled to Indian Ladder Farms in Altamont to find out how we can all help. She was there the same day that bees from Rulison Honey Farms, based in Amsterdam, arrived. The bee hive boxes had been transported 25 miles by truck. The yearly trip is part of a more than century old relationship between the two farms, says Indian Ladder Farms manager Laura Ten Eyck.
“I was recently talking to my dad about it. And he’s 84. And our relationship with Rulison’s has been going on so long that he can’t remember how long it is,” said Ten Eyck.
As soon as they arrived, the bees began cross-pollinating the apple blossoms in the farm’s massive orchards. “That’s how we get apples,” said Ten Eyck. “Come Labor Day, they’ll be picking apples off of these trees.”
The earliest evidence of bees has been found in fossils dating back more than 100 million years ago. Their pollinating prowess is why we have beautiful trees, flowers and food, like apples, to eat. But bees are increasingly under threat.
“It’s hard to keep healthy bees alive these days,” says Matt Rulison, beekeeper with Rulison Honey Farms.
Rulison says bees are not only being threatened by things like insecticides, but also by deadly disease carrying mites that came to the United States in the 1980s. He adds that it is not uncommon for beekeepers to lose up to 25 to 30percent of their bees due to these mites.
Want to be a good steward to the bees? You can start by supporting your local beekeeper. They are the folks building up the bee population and fighting the mites that can kill them.
You can also plant flowers that attract bees. But the biggest way to support them is is to stay away from using pesticides and chemical treatments.