We may rarely think about it, but one group of insects are responsible for pollinating billions of dollars worth of seeds and crops nationally every year: the tiny and hardworking honeybee. What would happen if the honeybees went away? It’s a very real threat, as a new syndrome researchers call “colony collapse disorder” is affecting the once thriving hives of beekeepers. The condition is responsible for a massive honeybee die-off – with beekeepers losing 30-60 percent of their honeybees on the west coast and up to 70 percent on the east coast. California, one of the largest agricultural areas in the country, could be hit particularly hard – especially the state’s almond growers, who rely on the bees to keep their trees productive. Scientists are moving quickly to determine what the causes are, which could be anything from stress to pesticides to mite infestation.
Alexei Barrionuevo is a writer for the New York Times and he wrote an article about the bee die-off. He gives us an update on how the problem is being tackled, what we know about the syndrome and whether or not it is an international problem.
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