Honeybee Deaths Spike Again

Beekeepers say problem got much worse in 2012

By John Johnson,  Newser Staff

Posted Mar 29, 2013 12:28 PM CDT

(Newser) – Headlines about honeybees dying off may seem to have tapered off, but that doesn't mean the problem has gone away. In fact, it appears to have gotten "drastically" worse in the last year, reports the New York Times. Commercial beekeepers say 40% to 50% of their already diminished hives were wiped out in the last months of 2012, though official federal stats won't be out until May. Beekeepers continue to blame a new class of pesticides called neonicotinoids, though conclusive proof remains elusive.

The pesticide industry disputes the claim, but seems to be backing off a bit as pressure mounts. The European Union, for example, is poised to institute a ban on "neonics," prompting leading producers Syngenta and Bayer to promise a more thorough study of colony collapse disorder, reports Reuters. It's not clear whether the offer—along with other ideas such as planting more bee-friendly habitats—will forestall the expected ban. One thing is clear, however: With an estimated 25% of the US diet dependent on bee pollination, expect food prices to rise in correlation to the bee deaths.

Deaths of honeybees rose sharply again last year.
Deaths of honeybees rose sharply again last year.   (AP Photo/Peter M. Fredin)
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