BRAZORIA COUNTY, Texas– The buzz on Dane Beito’s Honeybee yard is the future.
Slabs once filled with honeycomb boxes sit half empty with half of Beito’s bees wiped out.
It is a sting the former Harley Davidson mechanic, who dumped 25 years of his savings into making honey, feels more than most. However, even he fears the fate of another insect.
“At the rate they’re going, we’re losing them,” he said. “We’re losing them very fast.”
The Rusty Patched Bumblebee, 10 times the size of Honeybees, is near extinction. Almost nine of 10 counted in the late 1990’s vanished, according a the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Services press release. It is the first endangered bee in America’s contiguous 48 states.
Without them, getting fresh peppers, blueberries, cranberries and tomatoes will be hard, Beito said.
“Bumblebees are actually better pollinators than Honeybees believe it or not,” he said. “They can get more work done. They can get it done twice as fast.”
There is no replacement, just a solution, wildlife experts said. They urge people to plant more native flowers and stop or slow spraying pesticides, before it's too late.