Krasnodar, 3 July – Yug Times. Since the mid-2000s, bees began to disappear in North America – a dozen thousand bee families every year. In Krasnodar province, the situation has not been as bad so far – but the existing number of bee families is insufficient for the normal development of apiculture.
Beekeepers know that one beehive covers two hectares of cereals. According to most optimistic statistics, there are 120,000 to 130,000 bee families in our region, while pessimists claim that the figure is 95,000 only. At the same time, there are over 500,000 hectares of sunflower fields, numerous fruit orchards, and plantations and greenhouses with cane fruit. Experts assert that lack of bee families leads to losses due to insufficient pollination, and estimate such losses to reach 6 billion roubles every year. The existing chemical technologies used to fight plant diseases are so mighty that they have eradiated nearly all insects-pollinators. The last surviving insects are domestic bees – but there are too few of them left. The situation is so bad that now plant-growers pay a thousand roubles per bee family to beekeepers to get a beehive on their field during flowering, while in the past it was the beekeepers who asked the farmers to let them put the hives on their fields. As for the most widely cultivated plant, sunflower, the beekeepers are reluctant to send their bees to the sunflower fields, which are treated with herbicides that fall into the earth, then they are absorbed by the plant and found in the nectar. As a result, bees cannot survive winters when they are fed on such sunflower honey.
Another reason is quite prosaic: money! Sunflower honey is the cheapest product – it costs 150 to 200 roubles only. Beekeepers complain that regional authorities do not support them; quite the contrary, they are withdrawing the lands that were allocated for wintering of apiaries as long ago as in the 1980s.
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