Honeybee Habitat Receives Financial Assistance from USDA
The U.S. Department of Agriculture is helping six states improve bee habitat, one state being Montana. State Entomologist Cam Lay said bees are kind of like humans…they don’t do well when they eat the same things over and over again.
"They really need a balanced diet. For bees, that means many different kinds of pollen and many different kinds of nectar," Lay said. "Montana is a great place for that because we have lots of different wildflowers, lots of different weeds, and lots of trees species that produce nectar and pollen. That's why an awful lot of beekeepers come up here so that the bees can kind of rest and recover. In Montana, bees aren't really doing too bad."
Lay said $4 million in financial assistance will be dispersed among farmers and ranchers as well as forest landowners in Michigan, Minnesota, Montana, North and South Dakota and Wisconsin.
"There's a lot that you can do even if you're in the city on a quarter-acre lot," Lay said. "I don't spray my dandelions, I don't cut my dandelions, just because my bees like them. It's not a weed lawn, it's bee habitat."
NBC Montana reports that researchers with the Center for Research on Globalization estimate about 30 percent of all honeybee colonies in the last 10 years have disappeared. They attribute the decline to pesticide use, habitat destruction, climate change and parasites.