A European honey bee (Apis mellifera) extracts nectar from an Aster flower using its proboscis. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Honey bees, which play a key role in pollinating a wide variety of food crops, are in sharp decline in the United States, due to parasites, disease and pesticides, said a federal report released on Thursday.
Genetics and poor nutrition are also hurting the species, which help farmers produce crops worth some $20 billion to $30 billion a year.
Honey bee colonies have been dying and the number of colonies has more than halved since 1947, said the report by the Environmental Protection Agency and the Agriculture Department.
The decline raises doubt about whether honey bees can fulfill their crucial role in pollinating crops that play a role in about one-third of all food and beverages sold in the United States, the report said.
Read more: http://www.mcall.com/news/nationworld/sns-rt-us-usa-beesbre941139-20130502,0,2103948.story