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What is Killing Honeybees?

FILE - A hive of honeybees appears on display at the Vermont Beekeeping Supply booth at the annual Vermont Farm Show at the Champlain Valley Expo in Essex Junction, Vt.

While Polish scientists found that certain pesticides are devastating the honeybees’ immune system, British scientists report insecticides are also devastating the honeybees’ reproductive abilities.

According to a study published in the leading biological research journal of the Royal Society, two insecticides banned in some European nations but still used in the U.S., reduce the drones’ sperm to a level that makes them unable to reproduce.

For years, scientists have been struggling to find reasons for periodic sharp declines of honeybee population across the globe, resulting in the loss of beehives as high as 50 percent in some areas.

Researchers now agree that several factors contribute to the loss, including climate changes, infectious diseases and overuse of agricultural insecticides and pesticides.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency says in December, it will make public the risk assessments of several chemicals including the ones mentioned in the British study.