(via nytimes.com) A mysterious illness is killing tens of thousands of honeybee colonies across the country, threatening honey production, the livelihood of beekeepers and possibly crops that need bees for pollination.
Researchers are scrambling to find the cause of the ailment, called colony collapse disorder.
Reports of unusual colony deaths have come from at least 22 states. Some commercial beekeepers have reported losing more than 50 percent of their bees.
A colony can have roughly 20,000 bees in the winter and up to 60,000 in the summer. Commercial beekeepers often have thousands of colonies.
The country’s bee population had already been hurt in recent years by a tiny parasitic bug called the varroa mite, which had destroyed more than half of some beekeepers hives and devastated most wild honeybee populations.