Why you should care about bees

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America's beekeepers watched as a third of the country's honeybee colonies were lost over the last year, part of a decade-long die-off experts said may threaten our food supply. The annual survey of roughly 5,000 beekeepers showed the 33% dip from April 2016 to April 2017. The decrease is small compared to the survey's previous 10 years, when the decrease hovered at roughly 40%. From 2012 to 2013, nearly half of the nation's colonies died.

"I would stop short of calling this 'good' news," said Dennis vanEngelsdorp, an assistant professor at the University of Maryland. "Colony loss of more than 30% over the entire year is high. It's hard to imagine any other agricultural sector being able to stay in business with such consistently high losses."

The research, published Thursday, is the work of the nonprofit Bee Informed Partnership and the Apiary Inspectors of America. Cheerios gave away flower seeds to save the bees, but they could do harmWisconsin beekeepers battle dramatic honeybee lossesWhat if all bumblebees went extinct?

We'd be in 'a world of trouble'.The death of a colony doesn't necessarily mean a loss of bees, explains vanEngelsdorp, a project director at the Bee Informed Partnership. A beekeeper can salvage a dead colony, but doing so comes at labor and productivity costs. That causes beekeepers to charge farmers more for pollinating crops and creates a scarcity of bees available for pollination. It's a trend that threatens beekeepers trying to make a living and could lead to a drop-off in fruits and nuts reliant on pollination, vanEngelsdor said.

Read more at USA Today
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