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Nevadans Could Feel Sting of Bee Disease

June 9, 2008

Las Vegas, NV – Nevada shoppers could feel the sting of a mysterious phenomenon affecting honeybees across the country the next time they buy some of their favorite summer fruits. Scientists call it "Colony Collapse Disorder," and it occurs when bees fail to return to their hives and apparently all die in the fields and woods.

Gabriella Chavarria with the Natural Resources Defense Council says the first place most Nevadans may notice the impact is in the price of summer fruits.

"Strawberries, apricots, watermelons, honeydew, a lot of the fruits that we need; all of these plants need to be pollinated by honeybees."

Nevada beekeepers used to number in the hundreds, but now there are only a few dozen left. Chavarria notes those few that remain could use help from the government, both in the form of subsidies to keep them in business, and from new scientific research into the cause of CCD.

"Nevada's always been a huge state for growing bees, a lot of beekeepers. We need their help, not only for agricultural crops, but there's a high biodiversity of plants in Nevada that honeybees pollinate."

Nobody knows for sure what is killing the bees, but researchers in California say a combination of viruses, pesticides and global warming is likely to blame.

Find out more about CCD at http://entomology.ucdavis.edu.

Michael Clifford/Steve Powers, Public News Service - NV