Westerlo farm aiming to stem bee decline

July 16, 2017 07:50 PM

WESTERLO -- For Carl LoPresti and Patricia Kennedy, thousands of bees flapping their wings to ventilate their hive is a soothing sound.

"It doesn't get better than that," LoPresti said.

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The Westerlo couple recently started a bee farm with just two hives. They have 12 with about a million bees now. They got into it after hearing the bee population was in trouble.

"We wanted to partake in the opportunity to save the bees," LoPresti said.

"We want to get everybody involved and let everyone know that this is a great hobby to have," Kennedy said.

The couple took NewsChannel 13 on a tour for a look. One can't be too careful, but their bees seemed quite friendly. What they do is fascinating.

"[They're] extremely intelligent," LoPresti said. "They fly and they can forage up to four miles to pick up pollen and nectar."

They come back into the hive, embed nectar into the honeycomb, cap it, and voila -- you have honey. Each hive produces about 100 pounds of honey a year.

"You have bees wax. You could make candles. There's so much to do," Kennedy said. "It's a very creative outlet."

They do it all at the Bee Bevy Happy Farm in Westerlo. But that's not all the bees do. They also play a big role in our food production, flying around to pollinate.

"We heard the population of bees has dropped like 44 percent," LoPresti said. "Ultimately without bees, we have no food."

Part of the issue, LoPresti, says, is a parasite called Varroa mites. He's been working to keep them at bay.

"Varroa mites is the problem with the bees," LoPresti said. "It just gets into the bees and it'll take the population down."

But humans are also at fault, LoPresti says.

"The pesticides, the weed killers... everything that we use kills those bees," he said.


WNYT Staff

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