It isn't news that bees are dying off. But this is crazy.
U.S. beekeepers, who have reported average winter losses of 30 percent starting nine years ago, now face deeper ravages. It was so bad last summer that losses hit 44 percent for the year.
This plague shows up in your diet: apples, blueberries, and more. Farmers depend on wild pollinators such as birds and bees to fertilize plants and boost crop yields. The price of hive rentals in the U.S. tripled from 1995 to 2010, with half the increase due to decimation of the bee population. Farmers in California, which produces four-fifths of the world's almonds, have been hit hard.
Beyond the painful economics, human beings have an affinity for (and sometimes a fear of) the striped insects, composing poetry and music about them since antiquity. Shakespeare made the hive a trope on society. To Mormons, bees stand for hard work.
What will this summer hold?