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 PRESS REVIEW / REVUE DE PRESSE

  Fields abuzz with bees brought in for pollination
2001-10-15 : 8:58:33 -
Associated Press - http://www.detnews.com/

That steady buzzing noise coming from Oak Prairie Farms is the sound of thousands of honeybees brought in to pollinate the farm's cucumber crop. Farmers have rented honeybees for years to help pollinate many crops. In Michigan, blossoms of apples, peaches, blueberries, cherries and squash are frequent recipients of pollen borne by borrowed bees.
That steady buzzing noise coming from Oak Prairie Farms is the sound of thousands of honeybees brought in to pollinate the farm's cucumber crop. Farmers have rented honeybees for years to help pollinate many crops. In Michigan, blossoms of apples, peaches, blueberries, cherries and squash are frequent recipients of pollen borne by borrowed bees.
The varroa mite turned up in Florida in 1987. With some help from an even tinier villain known as the tracheal mite, the varroa mite has wiped out approximately 90 percent of wild honeybees in the United States, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture.
The varroa mite attaches to a bee larva after growing within a sealed cell in a bee colony. It then spreads to the rest of the colony, transmitting viruses and bacteria as it goes. The tracheal mite sucks the blood of an adult honeybee from within its breathing tubes.
Barnes begins rolling out his hive wagons in early April, first for the state's apricots. The hives are then taken to other orchards that grow fruit.
Besides cucumbers, Ron Hostetler and Brian Nunamaker also raise snap beans, potatoes, corn and soy beans at Oak Prairie Farms near Bronson. They rent many hive wagons from Barnes to pollinate the farms 600 acres of cucumbers, Hostetler said. "If I didn't show up, there would be no pickles," Barnes told The Daily Reporter for a story Friday. Zachary Huang, an assistant professor of entomology at Michigan State University, said farmers who rent hives to pollinate their crops usually get all of their investment back.
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