New Jersey high school student helps develop way to save bee population from destructive pests

ByEyewitness News WABC logo
Tuesday, April 23, 2024
NJ student helps develop way to save bees from destructive pests
18-year-old Katie Culbert is being recognized for her work to help save the world's greatest pollinators: bees

TOMS RIVER, New Jersey (WABC) -- There's a lot of buzz around a high school student from New Jersey fighting to save the world's greatest pollinators: bees.

18-year-old Katie Culbert from Toms River thinks she found a way to protect bees from varroa mite, one of the most destructive pests. The bugs feed on bee larvae, causing deformed wings and bodies.

Culbert is now researching how mist diffusion of certain essential oils may be able to stun the mites without harming bees.

"This continuous-release system had an efficacy of over 97%, which is really promising and exciting," Culbert said.

Culbert was recently crowned the "Honey Queen," acting as a spokesperson for the New Jersey Beekeepers Association.

The group says her work is so important because bees alone pollinate 80% of all flowering plants, including 130 types of fruits and vegetable.

But bee populations are rapidly declining.

Nearly 90% of the American bumble bee population has been wiped out in the last 20 years.

So how can you help?

Experts say you can avoid using pesticides and check with your local garden center about plants native to the area.

ALSO READ: Earth Day 2024 raises awareness of health risks of plastics, with goal to phase out single-use items

Earth Day was first celebrated in the U.S. in 1970.


* Get Eyewitness News Delivered

* More Manhattan news

* Send us a news tip

* Download the abc7NY app for breaking news alerts

* Follow us on YouTube

Submit a tip or story idea to Eyewitness News

Have a breaking news tip or an idea for a story we should cover? Send it to Eyewitness News using the form below. If attaching a video or photo, terms of use apply.