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AGRIBUSINESS: Fewer Bee Colonies Lost Last Winter, Cause Unknown

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More than three quarters of flowering plants require pollinators to reproduce. According to USDA, that means pollinators help produce one out of every three bites of food Americans eat.

Beekeepers say losing just under 19 percent of colonies around the country each year is economically sustainable, but total losses this past winter were more than 23 percent nationwide.

That's according to an annual USDA survey out May 15. The figure is, however, an improvement over the number for the previous winter at more than 30 percent, and above the eight-year average at more than 29 percent. The survey's authors note there's no way to tell exactly why bees did better last winter.

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