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Broken bees

(article, Culinate staff)

Honey bees have been suffering for a long time now, battered by disease, parasites, fungus, herbicides, pesticides, and just plain mysterious die-offs. This spring, the problem appears worse than ever, with some 50 percent of honey-bee populations succumbing over the winter. (In previous years, up to a third of bee populations had died.)

Honey bees are important, since they pollinate most of the crops we rely on for food. AlterNet recently ran an article calling for a ban on neonicotinoids, the pesticides believed to be especially dangerous to bees. Britain and the European Union are tussling over a possible ban, while the Environmental Protection Agency is conducting a five-year study on the pesticides. Meanwhile, bees are dying; as a result, grocery prices are likely to rise.

By the way, if you buy imported honey, double-check it; two of the nation's largest honey packers recently admitted to importing cheap Chinese honey via southeast Asia and relabeling it to make a quick buck.