Where are the bees? Oklahoma beekeepers notice sudden decline

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MINCO, Okla.  - Clover Bloom Honey has been in business 80 years.

"Well look in here. It's about 1,000 pounds of honey in here," Jim Ross, with Clover Bloom Honey, said.

Clove Bloom Honey, like many other honey farms in the nation, is seeing bees disappear.

A new study shows 63 percent of Oklahoma beekeepers reporting a decline in bees, which puts the Sooner State toward the top of the list for states losing their bees.

"You don't find dead bees around the hive. It's just like you have a really strong number early in the year, and it just winds down in numbers and by the end of the year, you don't have enough bees left on the hive to survive the winter," Ross said.

And that means you'll end up spending more at the grocery store.

"That's why honey prices have escalated and that's why the bees are so expensive," Ross said.

However, experts say it's more than being a sweet treat.

"It's not the honey, that's a serendipity thing. The value is the pollination. It's about $18 billion a year annually, our nation," Ross said.

Whole Foods released before and after photo of a salad bar demonstrating what it would look like without bees to pollinate our food.

"They have to pollinate the food otherwise we won't have almonds or apples or melons or alfalfa seed," he said.

Beekeepers have struggled with colony collapse disorder for about 10 years, but experts believe they have found out why it is happening.

"The colony collapse disorder has been traced also, we believe, to pesticides and a virus," Ross said.

That virus is a parasite that kills the bees and Ross says a particular pesticide is also to blame.

"It's really a small industry in this nation but so vital for the good of our country, better figure it out," Ross said.

The European Union has already banned three types of the particular insecticide that's being blamed for the bee's demise. Some beekeepers are asking for the same here in the United States.

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