Earlier this week, Senator Chuck Schumer expressed his concerns about the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s decision to stop collecting data on bee populations in places like Rochester. WXXI reporter Noelle Evans covered this story, and the impact that a lack of research could have on New York’s agriculture and economy. Bee populations have been declining for decades due to climate change, changes in biodiversity, and pesticides.

This hour, we talk about the USDA’s decision, the impact it could have, an update on pesticides, and what can be done to protect bee colonies in our area. In studio:

freeimages.com/Caroline Kjall

This time of year, you might be startled by the sight of a huge swarm of honeybees. It can happen not only in agricultural areas, but also in your neighbor's backyard or even in the middle of a city.

"It can be kind of scary thing to see a big, buzzing ball of thousands of honeybees, right?" Emma Mullen asked. "That's a lot of people's worst nightmares." 

But Mullen, senior honeybee extension associate at Cornell University, says those bees are typically harmless.

They're just taking a cue from the warm weather and the flowering plants that it's time to reproduce.