Friday 24 February 2012

Africanized bees, climate and disease killing Mexico's honey

LAKE CHAPALA, Mexico, February 20, 2012 — Africanized bees, climate change and disease are seen by local beekeepers as the cause for the drop in honey production around Mexico’s largest freshwater lake.
Honey production was “10 percent less than regular,” said Ricardo Gutierrez, who manages 800 hives in the hillside near the Aztec town of Mazamitla and elsewhere in an exclusive interview with The Washington Times, Communities.
“It is because of the (rain) water, and maybe the weather,” Gutierrez said through a translator.

“There’s not enough rain, so the flowers do not bloom well. It was just a drought this year.”
As Gutierrez was giving this interview to Communities the weather was acting more oddly—it was raining. Locals say it “never” rains in winter.
Along with the inconsistent climate patterns the bees are experiencing in Mexico, there is the consistent problem of bee diseases, which is taking its toll on honey production.
“The bees have probably suffered from some type of disease because the population has been greatly reduced,” said Jose Luis Amezcua, a beekeeper of 40 years from the touristy lakeside town of Ajijic.
“We know that something is happening with the bees that are causing them to die inside the beehives,” he said through a translator. “This problem started about two to three years ago.”
If adverse weather and pestilence were not enough to challenge the estimated 41,000 beekeepers across Mexico tending 2 million hives, the type of bees they’re now forced to work with is no help either. 

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