Local governments may be able to help stop the rise in honeybee deaths in Illinois.
A survey by the U.S. Department of Agriculture says Illinois is one of several states where 60 percent of honeybee colonies have died since April 2014. Corky Schnadt, president of the Northern Illinois Beekeepers’ Association, says pesticides and herbicides are one of several causes of this spike, and cities should consider banning their use in parks.
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“I know Highland Park has that. Chicago, I don’t think does any spraying of any kind of herbicide,” Schnadt said. “So you’re seeing a lot more dandelions in public parks and along roadsides and in cemeteries, and believe it or not, that’s one of the best foods in the spring for bees.”
Another factor in colony deaths, according to Schnadt, is a parasite called varroa mites, which he calls “devastating to the honeybee population.”
Schnadt says Illinois escapes some of the repercussions of the deaths because not many Illinois crops are pollinated by bees, where in other states, colony deaths may have a significant impact on agriculture.