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Beekeepers Try Cold Storage To Stave Off Colony Collapse


"A honeybee on an apiary. Colony collapse disorder continues to be an issue for farmers across the United States. Photo by Björn Appel/Wikimeida"

"A honeybee on an apiary. Colony collapse disorder continues to be an issue for farmers across the United States. Photo by Björn Appel/Wikimeida"

The mysterious disappearance of honeybees known as colony collapse disorder continues to be an issue for farmers across the country. As scientists study why this is happening, one Yakima area farmer thinks he may have a solution for at least one of the possible causes: cold storage.

Last spring, Eric Olson discovered that more than half his bees in 9,000 hives were gone. Colony collapse disorder still needs study. But scientists say it’s at least partly due to pesticides, parasites — and changing weather patterns.

This last thing is a problem because warm winter days can fool bees into flying out of the hive to their deaths. Olson thought he could do something about this by using more-consistent cold storage. He put his precious pollinators in fruit and potato cold-storage warehouses for the winter.

“It used to be the winters had a lot more snow and they were colder, and the bees would essentially have the same thing that we are giving them inside a fruit cold storage,” he says.

Olsen said he and scientists still have a lot to learn about cold storage. But his bees emerged this spring healthy and primed for pollination.

On the Web:

Colony collapse disorder Q&A

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