RICHMOND, Va. (AP)- Virginia’s honeybees had a rough winter.
The Daily Progress reports that the state lost 60 percent of its colonies last winter. The Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services says that’s double the average rate for the last decade.
Officials say there’s no single cause for the decrease, but habitat lass, pests, diseases and pesticides are all factors in the decline.
“We were expecting high losses; we just didn’t know how high they would be,” said state apiarist Keith Tignor.
The state agriculture department is encouraging Virginians to become beekeepers and plant pollinator gardens.
Honeybee loss has been gaining national recognition. In 2015, the Obama administration announced a plan to boost research and preserve 7 million acres of bee habitat in the U.S.
More recently, second lady Karen Pence added beehives to the vice president’s residence.