What's happening to the Honey Bees?
New Mystery Ailment Devastates Honeybee Industry, Already Devastated by Mite Infestation
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.
...The country's bee population had already been shocked in recent years by a tiny, parasitic bug called the varroa mite, which has destroyed more than half of some beekeepers' hives and devastated most wild honeybee populations.
Along with being producers of honey, commercial bee colonies are important to agriculture as pollinators, along with some birds, bats and other insects. A recent report by the National Research Council noted that in order to bear fruit, three-quarters of all flowering plants -- including most food crops and some that provide fiber, drugs and fuel -- rely on pollinators for fertilization.