Your Green Life: "Help Our Pollinators"

By KBJR News 1

May 29, 2014 Updated May 29, 2014 at 8:28 AM CDT

Duluth, MN
Bees are the backbone of our agriculture, they pollinate much of the produce that we eat. But recently bees have been having troubles, bee keepers and scientists have noticed, and are worried.

Jon Otis, of Lake Superior Honey, told me "The recent research from the University of Minnesota indicates that pesticides are kind of the big one, the big trigger. And there's a specific class of pesticides known as neonicotinoids."

This pesticide is chemically similar to nicotine and doesn't harm the bees initially, but they gradually build up within the hive.

"Every time a honey bee returns to the hive there's six detectable pesticides in her pollen load." said Otis.

But the bees have also been battling for habitat. They need a constant food source, but they cannot find food in urban areas where lawns are perfectly manicured and pavement sits instead of wild grasslands.

Otis said, "What we can do about that is we can plant something. You know, anything with blooms, bee's love anything with blooms, we also need native grasses so they have a place to hide."

Otis started up Lake Superior Honey a couple years ago as a hobby and to support his garden, but it quickly turned into a buzzing business.

Backyard bee keeping offers an opportunity to taste your neighborhood. This batch was made in October in Woodland Avenue, and this batch was made in August on Skyline. They're both two different colors and two unique flavors.

"So people can actually tastes honey from those different locations and it's got a different color and flavor profile depending on where the location is and the time of the year." Otis told me.

Otis said that the bees had a very tough time this winter and even lost some of his hives. But his new colonies are already starting to produce honey.

Meteorologist Adam Lorch