SALT LAKE CITY — A northern Utah man recently received the highest national award for beekeepers, and he is trying to use the recognition to find a solution to stop large populations of bees from dying.
Darren Cox was awarded the American Honey Producers Associations national beekeeper of the year award. Cox lives in Cache County and owns a local honey business, but he has also branched out and now owns beehive businesses in other states.
"It was quite a surprise to be able to win it," Cox said. "Coming as a Utah boy from the Beehive State. It's pretty cool."
Although Cox was excited and honored to win the award, he said there is are major problems in the beekeeping industry. Cox said that colony collapse disorder is spreading nationwide causing huge populations of bees to die.
"This last winter, I went through the largest die off I've ever experienced," Cox said. "My die off this past winter was at 70 percent. This isn't rocket science. It's much more complicated than that."
Many beekeepers have theories to explain the large amount of dying bees including different pesticides and chemicals, but no solutions have yet been found to prevent the deaths.
"When you get into your fruits, nuts and vegetables that require pollenization, the 95 crops that require it, that really gives the benefit that we need as humans to survive," Cox said. "This is where all of us, including our health officials, should take notice on what we can do to mitigate the effects to our livestock to our pollinators."
Cox proposed the solution of farmers only spraying crops with chemicals during nighttime hours instead of daylight hours when bees are more active. Cox said that something needs to change to eliminate more dying bees.