SHERBURNE – The U.S. State Department of Agriculture is investigating if the loss of a Sherburne beekeeper’s 39 of 40 hives this past winter was the result of a larger national trend involving the mass death of honey bee populations, often referred to as Colony Collapse Disorder.
Sherburne residents Lash Taylor and Pat Forester have been cultivating hives for their honey for the last nine years. At the end of last year’s season, the couple had 40 functioning hives, with each hive containing one queen and around 50,000 workers. Last year the couple harvested about 800 pounds of honey.
Taylor explained that every year domestic bee keepers typically lose between 25 and 30 percent of their hives.
“But you don’t expect to lose 97 percent of them,” added Taylor. “In all the years I’ve been doing this, I’ve never seen it this bad before. It’s true it was a hard winter for the bees, but we’ve had weather like this before and it wasn’t nearly this bad,” said Taylor.
What happened to the bees?
Typical of other diagnosed Colony Collapse cases, the bees simply disappeared from the hive.