A bee approaches a clover plant. Iowa State scientists are studying if placing honeybee hives near prairie will help them keep up honey stores later into the winter. Photo courtesy of Amy Toth.
A bee approaches a clover plant. Iowa State scientists are studying if placing honeybee hives near prairie will help them keep up honey stores later into the winter.

Can prairies help beehives keep weight?

Study will examine whether soybean crop insecticides cause health concerns and how introducing non-native honeybees to prairie may affect native bee species.

Honeybee hives in Iowa start losing weight at around the same time every August. The weight reduction coincides with the point in time that most crops and clover in Iowa stop flowering, cutting off the forage sources bees need to produce honey.

That’s a problem, because as the hives get lighter and the honey scarcer, the likelihood that the hive won’t survive the winter increases, said Matthew O’Neal, an associate professor of entomology at Iowa State University.

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