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Posted Mon Sep 16 2013: from Scientific American:
Royal Pains: Why Queen Honeybees Are Living Shorter, Less Productive Lives
What's killing the bees? If you've been watching the news, you might answer: "Colony collapse disorder." Yet after the winter of 2011-2012, beekeepers only attributed 8 percent of their wintertime honeybee-hive losses to colony collapse disorder. Other reasons for hive deaths were much more common, including ailing queen bees, to which beekeepers attributed 32 percent of their dead hives. At one recent pollination research conference, nobody seemed to be looking for the disorder's cause anymore.... Queens just don't seem as long-lived and fecund as they used to be, says David Tarpy, who researches beekeeping at the University of North Carolina. Sometimes worker bees even kill their own queens. This behavior, called supersedure, is part of a healthy colony's life cycle, but beekeepers say they're seeing it occur at an accelerated rate, which stresses hives.
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'Doc Jim says:
Even being a queen ain't what it used to be.

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