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Free the bees.

Bees are in trouble in America. In the 1980s, wild bees were devastated by an invading parasite, the varroa, or vampire mite. Now, along with varroa, pesticides and predator birds are devastating the insects needed to pollinate 90 or so crops. "For the first time in our history [pollination] is a limiting factor in crop production," Keith Delaplane, professor of entomology at the University of Georgia, told the Christian Science Monitor. U.S. farmers now rely on commercial bee colonies, but there aren't enough of them either. A short-term solution is finding chemicals to kill the parasites, but the mites are developing resistance to them. So scientists are looking at long-term solutions such as genetically altered bees that can resist mites or bees that are imported from eastern Russia and have already adapted to the varroa mite.
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Title Annotation:Stateline
Publication:State Legislatures
Article Type:Brief Article
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Jul 1, 2004
Previous Article:The young are waking up.
Next Article:The new legislative reality: how leaders see it.

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