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Wisconsin Beekeepers Report Losing High Numbers Of Bees This Winter

State Officials: Honey Producers Continue To Struggle With Winter Losses

Some Wisconsin beekeepers are reporting high losses of bees this winter.

Kent Pegorsch, president of the Wisconsin Honey Producers Association, said 2017 was a difficult year for controlling varroa mites, a parasite that infests hives and kills off developing bees.

"Some people are having good luck with their bees, wintering them. But a lot of people are having very bad luck with winter survival rates for their bees," said Pegorsch, who owns Dancing Bear Apiary in Waupaca.

For years, Wisconsin beekeepers have been fighting the impacts of varroa mites. Liz Meils, state apiarist for the state Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection, said the state doesn't start hive inspections until May. But she said over the last five to 10 years, beekeepers have been dealing with around 50 percent of their hives dying over the winter.

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