In the past several weeks, a spate of studies have appeared in scientific journals suggesting the culprit behind mass deaths of honeybees is widely used pesticides called neonicotinoids. On June 23, President Obama signed a memorandum establishing the first-ever federal pollinator strategy and the Agriculture Department announced $8 million in incentives to farmers and ranchers in five states who establish new habitats for honeybees.
Italian honeybees hover around the suit of beekeeper Robert Harvey as he transfers bee colonies from a blueberry field near Columbia Falls, Maine. Last year, 23.2 percent of the country’s managed honeybee colonies died, which is higher than the “acceptable” rate of about 19 percent, according to a report from a group supported by the U.S. Department of Agriculture. Bees pollinate plants that provide much of the food that we consume, including apples, watermelons and coffee beans.Adrees Latif/Reuters