Although honeybee loss slowed last year, it remains at dangerously high levels, according to a new federal report that concluded there was no single remedy for the colony collapse that has hit America’s hard-working crop pollinators.
The report, released Thursday by the U.S. Department of Agriculture and the Environmental Protection Agency, attributed the colony decline to a number of factors, including pesticide exposure, parasites and poor nutrition.
Since 2006, when colony collapse disorder emerged, an estimated 10 million bee hives, worth about $2 billion, have been lost. During that period, about 30% of colonies have died every year, although in 2012 the figure dropped to 22%.
The figures are grim news for the food industry. Pollination, principally by honeybees, is necessary for the production of about one-third of all food and beverages. California almond growers alone use more than 60% of all managed colonies.