‘Disorder’ killing off New Hampshire honeybees

The state’s honeybees are dying, adding New Hampshire to a growing list of states losing their honeybees to an unexplained phenomenon.

And the resulting economic impact in the state could reach into the millions, according to Merrimack beekeeper Alan Lindahl.

“We won’t fully understand the impact until spring,” said Lindahl. “There will be a trickle-down affect from the economic strain of the beekeeper who will have to replace his bees, to the farmers who need their crops pollinated, to the consumer who will end up paying more for produce.”

The owner of Hillside Apiaries in Merrimack, Lindahl lost 45 of the 50 new colonies he purchased last summer to what researchers have now dubbed “colony collapse disorder,” or CCD.

“I’ve been hit big time,” said Lindahl, a member of the New Hampshire Beekeepers Association. “We’re not sure what this is yet. The jury is still out on that but when it happens it is devastating. “

On Tuesday, The New York Times reported 24 states have been hit by CCD. Apiary owners on the East Coast are reporting up to 70 percent of their hives have died, while losses on the West Coast range from 30 to 60 percent.

The cost of replacing the honeybees lost to CCD will run New Hampshire beekeepers $70 per “package” and could total into the thousands for each apiary affected.

New Hampshire’s fickle winter may add to the number of honeybees lost this year, Lindahl said. Warm weather like that the state experienced in January increases the honeybees’ appetite, causing them to deplete their stash of honey leaving, little sustenance for the remainder of the winter. – TRACIE STONE

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