Westminster beekeeper explains the importance of protecting pollinators

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WESTMINSTER, Colo. — Honeybees have been dying off at an alarming rate for years now, posing a true threat to food production.

Gregg McMahon, a professional beekeeper in Westminster, says he is frustrated because the solution to the problem is not a mystery.

”Beeswax is a natural diuretic, you can’t eat too much of it. Honey was found in the tombs of Egypt, it was still good. Every hospital in Denver has honey because they put it on wounds that won’t heal,” he said.

McMahon removes the bees, protects them, raises them and even eats their larvae.

“Thirty-three percent of everything we eat has to be pollinated by a honeybee. That’s just a ridiculous amount of food,” he said.

The honeybee is not native to Colorado or even North America.

McMahon says 40 to 80 percent of honeybees die off every year of unnatural causes.

“Varroa mites, they are like little ticks, they attach themselves to bees — they suck the bees’ blood,” he said.

McMahon says protecting the bees requires eliminating the mites.

“We use all organic stuff that’s produced to treat our bees from mites it’s extremely effective, bees are showing no resistance,” McMahon said.

However, he says he is frustrated because other beekeepers are not doing what is necessary to protect the bees.

“If you’re going to be a beekeeper, it’s agriculture. You take care of your animals, you don’t let your horse die from ticks or fleas, right? No. This is agriculture, you treat your bees, that’s the bottom line,” McMahon said.

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