Die-Off of Honeybees Stings Industry

The mysterious 4-year-old crisis of disappearing honeybees is deepening. A quick federal survey indicates a heavy bee die-off this winter, while a new study shows honeybees' pollen and hives laden with pesticides.

Federal agencies are still scrambling to figure out what is behind this threat, ordering new research on pesticides used in fields and orchards. Federal courts are even weighing in this month, ruling the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency overlooked a requirement when allowing a pesticide on the market.

Scientists are concerned because of the role bees play in our food supply. About one-third of the human diet is from plants that require pollination from honeybees -- everything from apples to zucchini.

Bees have been declining for decades from various causes. But in 2006 a new concern, "colony collapse disorder," was blamed for large, inexplicable die-offs. The disorder causes adult bees to abandon their hives and fly off to die.