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Queen bees could be the key to reviving decimated honeybees

June 3, 2008 |  9:21 am

Queen_bee Queen bees are central to efforts across the country to fight the sudden and poorly understood disappearance of honeybees that has been termed Colony Collapse DisorderMcClatchy Newspapers reports.

So as scientists struggle to understand the bees' sudden  decline, beekeepers are working to produce more queen bees in hopes that they will revive the population. Bees are vital to agriculture worldwide for their ability to pollinate crops and add billions of dollars in value by making the plants more bountiful.

Clint Walker, a third-generation Texas beekeeper told McClatchy that after his hives were hit by colony collapse disorder in 2006, he switched his focus to breeding queens.

"I can't raise enough queens; I turn down orders every day," he said.

"The California almond crop alone requires 1.3 million colonies of bees, roughly half of all honeybees in the U.S. By 2010, the almond crop is projected to need 1.5 million colonies," McClatchy reports.

For more information on why the loss of honeybees is such a crisis, check out the Q&A and action plan maintained by the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

-- Tony Barboza

Photo: Rich Pedroncelli/Associated Press

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