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Honeybee losses have Illinois farmers scrambling

Published: Tuesday, June 10, 2014 9:01 a.m. CDT

WATERMAN – The harsh winter has led to heavy losses among hives of honeybees in northern Illinois.

That left beekeepers scrambling to replenish their hives not just to produce honey but to pollinate crops such as apples, pumpkins and raspberries.

The Daily Chronicle reports ( ) that keepers of honeybees in DeKalb County lost more than 70 percent of their bees during the winter.

Producers in the area say they typically lose about 40 percent.

Steve Bock owns Honey Hill Orchard in the village of Waterman. He keeps bees to pollinate the 3,000 apple trees on his orchard, and had to buy 100,000 new bees. But they've yet to mature.

Standing in his backyard, Bock says, "Normally this time of year you would be able to hear the buzz from the driveway."

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