Farmers in the United States say they are growing increasingly concerned about a mysterious shortage of honeybees. The U.S. government says it is investigating a dramatic decline in the bee population over recent months, and Congress has held a hearing on the issue.
According to The Seattle Times: Fully a third of the entire U.S. food supply depends on bees for pollination, from melons to cucumbers, cranberries to apples, and nearly the entire world supply of almonds, according to the National Research Council.
Six of Washington state's top 10 crops depend at least indirectly on honey bees, state agricultural statistics show. And those six were worth nearly $3 billion last year.
So it's little wonder that farmers and beekeepers here are watching with trepidation as experts around the world try to find out what's behind a sudden and massive honey-bee die-off. Called colony-collapse disorder, it has resulted in bees vanishing from hives in more than 30 states, including Washington, according to one survey.
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