Bee colonies are on the decline

3:20 PM, Mar 30, 2013   |    comments
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ST. PAUL, Minn. - New research has beekeepers buzzing about a population shortage and collapsing bee colonies. For several years, a steady decline of honeybees has surfaced, but this year could see a 40 to 50 percent decline.

Experts believe the decline is the result of multiple factors, including viruses and hive fungus, but researchers continue to focus on new pesticides called neonicotinoids, a chemical incorporated into the plants themselves.

"They can affect bee behavior," said Dr. Vera Krischik, an entomologist at the U of M. "The bees just sit there, become disoriented, and stop returning to the colony. This can cause colony collapse."

Bees play an important role in crop fields across the country. Up to 40 percent of our food sources depend on pollination.

However, Dr. Krischik says it's too early to say when the average person would be paying more for certain foods.

"The price of apples could go way up, the price of almonds, and the price of antioxidants," she says. "You would have to find mechanical ways to pollinate."

(Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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