With snow in the forecast, you’re probably not thinking much about mosquitoes. But the Laramie City Council is.

Laramie Beekeeper Helen Coates says last July, after the city sprayed organophosphates--a powerful common insecticide-- on the fields surrounding the city, she found hundreds of dead bees outside her hive. She says the chemical may be the cheapest approach, but it’s the worst for the environment.

“If you go spray, for example, a field of blooming yellow clover, you’re going to kill all the pollinators, probably some birds, it’s toxic to fish, etc.”

The US Department of Agriculture has funded a grant for the University of Wyoming to study the business of beekeeping. The grant is just under $50,000 and will be used to study methods to maximize the economic impact of bee keeping in Wyoming.

Associate professor in agriculture and applied economics, Mariah Ehmke, was one of the researchers awarded the grant. She says that colony collapse disorder has contributed to declining honey bee numbers in the US, but that isn’t the only issue facing the beekeeping industry.