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Science Briefing

Bees' decline may have slowed

May 23, 2009|From Times Staff and Wire Reports

Federal officials say the decline of honeybee colonies may have slowed slightly but warn that mysterious ailments are still affecting the insects.

U.S. Department of Agriculture researchers found that honeybee colonies declined by 29% between September 2008 and early April. That's an improvement over the last two years, when researchers found that 32% and 36% of beekeepers surveyed had lost colonies.

Domestic honeybee stocks have been waning since 2004, when scientists learned of a puzzling illness they called colony collapse disorder.

Honeybees help pollinate many fruits and vegetables, including blueberries, tomatoes, apples and almonds.

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