Wisconsin beekeepers see high bee losses this winter

MADISON — Some Wisconsin beekeepers are reporting high losses of bees this winter because of a parasite that infests hives and kills developing bees.

Kent Pegorsch is president of the Wisconsin Honey Producers Association. He tells Wisconsin Public Radio that beekeepers had difficulty controlling varroa mites last year.

Liz Meils is the state apiarist for the state Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection. She says beekeepers have been losing about half of their hives over the winter for the last five to 10 years.

Meils says producers can try to prevent loses by having their hives inspected and treated for mites. She says the state has two inspectors from May to October who can inspect hives and give treatment advice.