When health and environmental advocates meet in Cleveland next month to discuss the impact of pesticides on people, food crops and the environment, one focus of conversation will be the gradual disappearance of honeybees throughout the United States.

On Thursday, the PD carried an Associated Press story indicating that that many more honeybees died this winter, and that pesticides are a prime suspect:

Two federal agencies along with regulators in California and Canada are scrambling to figure out what is behind this relatively recent threat, ordering new research on pesticides used in fields and orchards. Federal courts are even weighing in this month, ruling that the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency overlooked a requirement when allowing a pesticide on the market. …

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

The 28th National Pesticide Forum — titled "Greening the Community: Green Economy, Organic Environments and Healthy People" — takes place April 9-10 at Case Western Reserve University. Featured speakers include scientific researchers, health-care professionals, entrepreneurs and other environmental advocates from around the country. One scheduled keynote speaker is David Hackenberg, a Pennsylvania beekeeper who has linked pesticides to the disappearance of honeybees and who was featured in the 2009 documentary Vanishing of the Bees. — Damian Guevara

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