ST. CLOUD - If you've spent any time outside lately you've probably been bothered by some black and yellow pests. However, Vern Heise from the Tri-County Beekeepers Association says they're not bees that are buzzing around you, they're most-likely yellowjacks which are members of the wasp family.  He says it's been a particularly bad year for them.

Meanwhile, Heise says the honey bee population continues to struggle.

One, we have a mono-culture in a lot of the country, here in Minnesota it's a lot of corn and soybeans, and there's not the weeds growing in the ditches like there used to be. Two, is the pesticides we are using now are systemic to the plants.

Heise says the third problem is that a mite got in our country back in the 1980's that weakens the bees.

September is "Honey Month", which makes this a good time to stress the important role honey bees play in our food chain.

Bees pollinate about a third of the food we eat. In schools they always teach kids every third bite you get is from the honey bees, because without the bees you wouldn't have that third bite of food.

Heise says he has 10 hives that he maintains, which produce about 150 pounds of honey every year.

He says they're offering a Youth Beekeeping Scholarship for one area kid between the ages of 12 and 17.