Beekeepers in 24 states are reporting record losses of honeybees. The exact cause of this problem has not yet been determined, but bee colonies across the U.S. are disappearing, with some states reporting a 70% drop in bee populations.
"I have never seen anything like it," said California beekeeper David Bradshaw. "Box after box after box are just empty. There's nobody home."
A Cornell University study has estimated that honeybees annually pollinate more than $14 billion worth of seeds and crops in the United States, mostly fruits, vegetables and nuts.
"Every third bite we consume in our diet is dependent on a honeybee to pollinate that food," said Zac Browning, vice president of the American Beekeeping Federation. The Organic Consumers Association is closely monitoring the situation with efforts to determine if the problem of disappearing bees is related to genetically engineered pollen or pesticide toxicity.