A local beekeeper says beehives are in good shape this spring, which should bode well for the Champlain Valley's apple crop.
Champlain Valley Beekeepers Association President Dick Crawford told the Plattsburgh Press Republican that keepers placed a pollen patty and an extra 20 pounds of honey in each hive over the winter.
Due to the recent snowy weather, he wasn't able to examine his honeybees until just a few days ago. He was pleased to find that he lost only 11 of his 50 hives. In past years he's lost as many as 90 percent of his hives.
He has talked with local colleagues, who also reported lower-than-normal losses.
Crawford said beekeepers farther south, in places like Pennsylvania, have reported heavier losses due to the large snowstorms that repeatedly passed through that area. He said beekeepers there are not accustomed to having to feed their bees, and were caught off guard.
Bees are crucial for pollination of crops. In this region, Crawford said, that is vital for the apple industry.
"Without bees, the chain would be broken," Crawford told the Press Republican.