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Happy Earth Day

And with the celebration of this planet we inhabit comes some disquieting news-of disappearing bees. Apparently it’s been noticed by beekeepers since last year, but is only now gaining more attention:

The alarm was first sounded last year, but has now hit half of all US states. The West Coast is thought to have lost 60 percent of its commercial bee population, with 70 percent missing on the East Coast.

CCD has since spread to Germany, Switzerland, Spain, Portugal, Italy and Greece. And last week John Chapple, one of London’s biggest beekeepers, announced that 23 of his 40 hives had been abruptly abandoned.

They’re calling it Colony Collapse Disorder. I’ve been interested in bees and other social insects for most of my life, so this caught my eye. And there is one theory that ties the disappearance with cell phone use: namely, that the radiation interferes with the bees’ internal navigation systems, making them unable to find their hives and consequently dying.

Oh, most importantly, these are honeybees that are disappearing, the primary pollinator of just about every major crop we produce. So, important? I’d say so…

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