Honeybee colonies across LI, state under attack by mites

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OLD BETHPAGE -

Honeybee colonies across Long Island and the state are under attack by a dangerous parasite.

Varroa mites first appeared in the U.S. in the 1980s and have since become a full-blown infestation. 

Donal Peterson manages over 100 colonies, including 500,000 honeybees at Restoration Farm.  A few years ago, he suffered a massive die-off because of mites. He says it knocked out 50 to 60 percent of his hives.

Caroline Fanning, the head grower at Restoration Farm, says if the honeybees go, so do locally grown fruit crops.

“And I’m not just talking about peaches, apples, and blueberries, I'm talking about anything that has seeds inside, so tomatoes, peppers, eggplant, zucchini, watermelon. Those are all fruit crops as well, and they are dependent on bees to pollinate them,” she says.

Scientists continue to research the situation and are working to develop a cure. 

Peterson hopes the increased buzz around the parasite will inspire more beekeepers to take action. 

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