HOLLAND, Mich. (WZZM) -- A local beekeeper who lost all of his honeybees this winter and he says it's happening across the state.
Anyone can look at Don Lam's beehive and see piles of dead honeybees. However, for Lam, each hive also tells the story of a struggle to survive. "They vibrate their wing muscles and that vibration is similar to shivering," says Lam, a beekeeper in Holland.
It was a fight that his nearly half a million honeybees lost to a long, harsh winter. "They had eaten there way all the way to the top, had run out of food, and they couldn't move over because it was too cold," says Lam. "In some cases they froze to death because the cluster got too small and in other cases they starved to death."
Every single colony was killed. "I've lost 20 out of 20, so it's a 100% loss for me," says Lam. "It's the same story everywhere, they're losing 80% or 90% of their bees."
Michigan beekeepers are used to losing bees over the winter months. In fact, Lam says he usually has half his bee population die off, but he says he's never seen it as bad as this year.
Across the country, the honeybee population has already been on a sharp decline.
"We are losing one third of our bee population every year and then we scramble that next summer to make that population up again," says Lam. "You can imagine how much we would be concerned if we lost one third of our chickens or a third of our cows every year, and because we don't see bees in the same way we don't realize it is a crisis."
Lam says the 'crisis' for honeybees could mean less pollination, fewer fruits, and higher prices.
Later this month, Lam plans to travel to Georgia to pick up more honeybees from a bee producer, who sells to northern beekeepers. However, Lam says he will probably only have about half as many honeybees this summer, because there isn't enough time to grow the population.