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    Here’s how the disappearance of bees will drastically affect our food supply

    By Joanna Fantozzi, Staff Writer
    February 24, 2017, 8:26:15 AM EST

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    America’s bees are rapidly vanishing from our farmlands, and that’s bad news for farmers

    We may not be fond of our pollinating bug brethren, but bees are buzzing off at alarming rates, and we should be worried. A new study published by scientists at the University of Vermont maps the decline of the bee population and its potential to seriously impact agriculture-heavy regions of the United States. The study was discussed at length at the recent American Association for the Advancement of Science’s annual meeting in Boston.

    "This study provides the first national picture of wild bees and their impacts on pollination," Taylor Ricketts, director of University of Vermont's Gund Institute for Ecological Economics told Phys.org. He noted that $3 billion of the United states economy depends on growing crops that have been pollinated by bees. "Wild bees are a precious natural resource we should celebrate and protect.”

    If the bee population continues to decline continues, 139 counties will be at risk, severely impacting U.S. crop production and farmers' costs. Areas most at risk include California, the Pacific Northwest, the upper Midwest and Great Plains, west Texas, and the Mississippi River valley. The crops that most depend on bee pollination include almonds, blueberries, apples, pumpkins, watermelons, and pears.

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    pie 2.23.17

    1. Apples

    Surprise, surprise — the nation's largest producer of apples is Washington State. In a typical year, 10 to 12 billion apples are harvested every year by hand, or put another way, about three out of five apples in the United States come from Washington. That's staggering — and without bees, the cross-pollination needed to produce apples just wouldn't happen on a scale large enough to produce today's crop. (Image/Taste of Home)

    Almonds 2.23

    2. Almonds

    About 80 percent of the world's almond supply comes from California, which requires about half of the honeybee population in the United States for pollination each year. Valued at more than $3 billion, this crop is California's top agricultural export. This year's crop is the largest ever, at 1.9 billion pounds, most of which is destined for locales in Asia, Europe, and the Middle East. The almond crop is completely dependent on honeybees for pollination. (Image/Miri Leigh)

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