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A Third of U.S. Bee Colonies Died in the Last Year

Over the last year, one-third of bee colonies in the United States disappeared. The die-off is the latest data point in a decade-long decline in the nation's honeybee colonies, brought about by a confluence of habitat loss, pesticides, and parasitic infections.

The 33 percent drop in colony numbers, which came from an annual survey of U.S. beekeepers released on Thursday, is actually an improvement over past years, which saw populations decline 40 to 50 percent. The situation has grown so severe that some bee species are now on the endangered species list.

The continued die-off isn't just bad news for beekeepers: Honeybees pollinate some $15 billion worth of crops across the country.