Loss of Vermont hay fields limits food for bees

MONTPELIER, Vt. (AP) — A slow change in agricultural practices is having an unintended consequence: limiting food for bees.

Since the 1980s, Vermont has lost more than 100,000 acres of hay fields that used to be full of bee friendly blooming alfalfa and clover. That means bees today aren't finding as many flowering plants as they need to flourish. And while hay is still grown, it is often cut before it can bloom, making it more nutritious for cows but bad for bees.

 

"Everything with bees is a negative. They don't have anything going for them right now," said Chas Mraz, who operates Champlain Valley Apiaries, one of the oldest commercial beekeeping operations in Vermont. Mraz's family started their bee business in 1931, and he took over in 2004.

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