Bringing the bees back

January 5, 2009 4:28:51 AM PST
The mysterious decline in honeybees has generated renewed interest in finding new ways to boost bee numbers.

Some researchers are focusing on how the habitat surrounding a hive can affect the bees' health. Others are examining how pesticides and other chemicals used in fields and gardens might affect bees.

Bees are vital to American agriculture because they pollinate crops such as almonds, apples and blueberries.

Beekeepers in 2006 began reporting losing 30 percent to 90 percent of their hives. The first case of what has come to be called "colony collapse disorder" was officially reported in Pennsylvania. Penn State University has been spearheading research on the issue.