Unseasonably warm weather last fall and winter has created confusion for honeybees and has added to a list of problems they face as researchers investigate how to help them survive and continue their vital role in pollinating crops.
Bees huddle for warmth and rely on whatever honey is stored in hives when temperatures fall below 40 degrees. February brought high-than-normal temperatures to central Ohio that lured bees from their hives with nothing to eat. When wintry weather returns, like it did in March, bees are in danger of freezing to death. The Ohio Department of Agriculture says the state's bee colonies have faced this issue the past three years. Ohio farmers rely on bees to pollinate 70 different crops.