Honey bees are vital to agriculture because they pollinate a host of crops, but they’re in trouble. According to a recently released survey, one-third of commercial colonies in the United States were lost last year. That's in keeping with the 6-year average and roughly double what commercial beekeepers consider as acceptable losses. Many beekeepers blame pesticides, and the European Union last month moved to ban several. But how much are pesticides contributing to the decline of bees? And what can be done to improve the fate of these amazing, helpful insects?
Join us on Thursday, 16 May, at 3 p.m. EDT on this page for a live Google Hangout when we address these questions. Be sure to leave your questions for our guests in the comment box below.
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Reed Johnson is an entmologist at The Ohio State University's Agricultural Research and Development Center. His work includes studying pesticide toxicity to honey bees and other pollinators. Johnson also works with a citizen science effort called Broodmapper.
Maryann Frazier is an entomologist at Penn State University, University Park, where she works on developing integrated pest management of honey bee diseases and mites. Her research involves the impact of pesticides and agrochemicals on bee health.
Erik joined Science magazine in 1997. He covers environmental research and policy with a focus on natural resources and sustainability.