Looming crisis for almond industry, as bee census records highest winter losses yet

There would be no almond industry without honeybees, and honeybees are struggling mightily to keep pace with the booming almond business, as FERN’s latest story, published with HuffPost, explains. The latest bit of bad news for bees came Wednesday, with the release of an annual survey of beekeepers that recorded winter losses of nearly 38 percent, the highest winter loss rate since the survey began 13 years ago.(No paywall)

Honeybees, and beekeepers, have a tough winter

Beekeepers lost three of every 10 of their managed honeybee colonies to harsh weather this past winter, the highest winter mortality rate in five years, according to a nationwide survey released on Wednesday.

The varroa mite might have a vulnerability

Researchers have found “genetic holes” in the armor of the varroa mite, a parasite that is a leading culprit in the decimation of honeybees, that could lead to strategies for controlling or even eliminating the mite, reports Science Daily.

Oregon Democrat wants a ban on neonics in the farm bill

Oregon Rep. Earl Blumenauer "wants to include a ban on pesticides linked to declining bee health in next year's farm bill," says Bloomberg BNA. The Democrat, who is not a member of the committee that will write the farm bill, would suspend EPA approval of neonicotinoid pesticides until the agency determines they don't harm pollinators, such as honeybees.

U.S. researchers scour Europe for bee sperm

Researchers at Washington State University are gathering bee sperm from across Europe to try to save American honeybees from the varroa mite — a key factor in colony collapse disorder, says Ryan Bell in FERN’s latest story with NPR’s The Salt.