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Experts: Bee Illness Could Hurt Agriculture

Monday, 2 Apr 2007 | 5:07 PM ET
CNBC.com

A mysterious illness is killing tens of thousands of bees across the U.S. Kim Flottum, chairman of the Eastern Apicultural Society and editor of Bee Culture magazine, and Maryann Frazier, professor in the department of entomology at Penn State University, joined "Street Signs" Monday to talk about what’s killing America’s bees -- and the potential impact on American farmers.

Flottum believes there are many causes for the illness -- but finally, “bee sickness causes comes down to stress,” said Flottum. Some commercial beekeepers have lost 50% to 90% of their colonies.

Bee Troubles
Dying bees could have a significant impact on the price of food, with CNBC's Jane Wells; Kim Flottum, Eastern Apicultural Society chairman; Maryann Frazier, Pennsylvania State University department of entomology and CNBC's Erin Burnett

Frazier lists stresses and pathogens at the tope of the list of potential causes. “Agriculture cannot depend on wild bees for pollination,” said Frazier. There are 2.5 million commercial beehives in the U.S. -- and bee-pollinated crops are worth nearly $14.6 billion dollars.

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  • Brian Sullivan is co-anchor of CNBC's "Street Signs."

  • Co-anchor of CNBC's "Street Signs," Amanda Drury is based at the network's global headquarters in Englewood Cliffs, N.J.