Honeybee deaths are on the rise again and it appears that the population drop is due to pesticides. Honeybees have been dying en masse for several years, but this year the deaths have spiked even more, according to commercial beekeepers.
About 40 to 50 percent of the hives needed to pollinate many of America's fruits and vegetables are gone. So far scientists studying the ailment, called colony collapse disorder, have not been able to find a conclusive explanation.
However, beekeepers and researchers believe that a powerful new class of pesticides is responsible for the problem. The pesticides, called neonicotinoids, are incorporated into the plants themselves.
The pesticide industry disagrees. But its representatives have also said they are open to further discussions about what, if anything, is happening with the honeybees.
Commercial beekeeper Bill Dahle, who owns Big Sky Honey in Montana, stated that his bees looked healthy last year. But, he added:
"... about the first of September, they started to fall on their face, to die like crazy. We've been doing this 30 years, and we've never experienced this kind of loss before."
The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has also started looking into the problem. The EPA sent its acting assistant administrator for chemical safety and two top chemical experts to California for discussions on the spike in honeybee deaths. The federal Agriculture Department is expected to issued its own assessment about the problem in May.