Honey bee population decline gaining interest from White House

By Jennifer Pilgrim,

It is known as the Wisconsin state insect: the honey bee. One of the most well-known pollinators in our society, and often confused with its more menacing neighbor, the wasp, honey bees are an important part of our agricultural lifestyle here in the United States and they're being threatened enough to the point that they may go extinct.

Although the honeybee population is 2.5 million strong in 2014, that is almost half of what it was in the mid-20th century. The drop in population size is often attributed to environmental factors, like parasites and pesticides.

Since 2006, commercial beekeepers in the United States have seen honey bee-colony loss rates increase to an average of 30 percent each winter, reports the Reedsburg Times-Press.

On Friday, June 27, the White House announced a federal strategy to reverse a rapid decline in the number of honey bees that often times threatens the development of the billions of dollars in crops across the United States.

"Honey bee pollination alone adds more than $15 billion in value to agricultural crops each year in the United States," they said in a statement, reports Scientific American.

Honey bees pollinate plants that produce about a quarter of the food consumed by Americans, including watermelons, beans, apples, tangerines, and cantaloupe.

Check out our list of the top 10 important facts about honey bees.

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