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15 animals making headlines

Western honey bee on flower

Photo: ZUMA Press

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Western honeybees

In October 2006, some beekeepers began reporting losses of 30-90 percent of their hives, a magnitude of loss that is highly unusual. The ongoing massive loss of Western honeybees has been attributed to colony collapse disorder, a phenomenon that doesn’t currently have a recognizable underlying cause. Scientists have speculated that CCD could be caused by pesticide use, air pollution, parasites or a combination of these factors, and they say CCD may also threaten wild bees and other insects that pollinate crops. Bees and other pollinators, such as butterflies and beetles, are estimated to do pollination work worth $212.3 billion to the economy. Of the 100 crop species that provide 90 percent of the world’s food, more than 70 are pollinated by bees, according to the U.N.