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Study Points to Multiple Causes of Bee Population Collapse

In a world of competing theories, sometimes more than one is right.

Photo by Charlesjsharp via Wikimedia Commons

Bees are disappearing all over the place. For years, scientists and apiarists have sought the cause of mass bee die-offs in the United States and Europe. And while many won’t miss the occasional uncomfortable sting from the little buzzers, they certainly will miss the $16 billion in American crops those bees pollinate every year. A number of supportable theories to explain the bee slump have been put forth—parasites, disease, loss of habitat to encroaching urbanization—but proving a single cause of the situation has remained elusive. Now, a new paper, published last month in Science, might tell us why.

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