Beekeepers nationwide for six years have busy trying to figure out what is killing off about one-third of the nation's colonies.
It's a vitally important question and key to protecting the U.S. food supply – bees pollinate fruits, vegetables and nuts, and the process is required for about one-third of all food production, MPR notes. But bees responsible for pollinating more than 100 crops, everything from apples to zucchini, have been dying by the tens of millions since 2006, Huffington Post noted.
Some experts are fretting that there might not be enough bees to pollinate some crops, beginning as early as this year.
Scientists believe the cause of bee die-offs could be due to a combination of pesticides, disease and poor nutrition, and some are worried the annual losses are not sustainable, MPR notes.
But a new report from the U.S. Department of Agriculture chronicles how scientists are still struggling to identify the cause of Colony Collapse Disorder.
MPR visits with beekeeper Steve Ellis, who has a theory: neonicotinoid pesticides.
Ellis tends about 1,300 hives in Barrett, Minn., where thousands of bees recently died, and he recently trucked his hives back to Minnesota after having taken them to California to pollinate almond trees. He was preparing the hives to be placed in nearby fields when bees started dying. He says he took this video of dying bees on May 7, the same day neonicotinoid corn had been planted in a nearby field: