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Excerpts from a USA Today article, June 21, 1996 by Rae Tyson
A honey of a winter routs bee population

A lethal blend of harsh winter weather and vampire-like mites has devastated the nation's honeybee population. .. Some beekeepers lost up to 80% of their colonies during the winter. ... Experts say there may well be some declines in production - and increases in food prices - because certain crops will be under-pollinated. .. Bees are susceptible to cold weather for reasons of personal hygiene. During the hibernating months of winter, bees, wanting to keep hives clean, take flight every few weeks to defecate. When weather is particularly cold .. "they just don't get out for their cleansing flights" and end up contracting fatal dysentery.

Some states report dramatic losses - Florida 25% loss, Illinois 30%-40% loss, Iowa 43% loss, Louisiana 5%-10% loss, Main 80%, Michigan 60% loss, New York 60%-70% loss, South Dakota 30%-60% loss, Tennessee 50% loss, Washington 50% loss, Wisconsin 67% loss.

However, the Earth's magnetic diffusion may be causing some of this trouble, per The MILLENNIUM Matters newsletter report on July 10, 1996. Writer David Yarrow states:

My own encounters with bees convinced me they detect, react, and navigate magnetic flux. The idea of a 'beeline' contains the notion of a compass bearing. I've seen bees deflected from their straight flight lines by magnetic fields from ballast transformers in fluorescent light fixtures. You can bet abnormal bee-havior - including population drops - indicates disturbed magnetic flux. Earth's magnetic field is indeed undergoing rapid changes in intensity, polarity, frequency, phase, and topography. Actually, the bee population crash isn't sudden. Bee mites have been a serious and growing threat to bees for more than a decade. But like HIV in AIDS, bee mites are an "opportunistic infection" are only a symptom - not a cause. Collapsing bee colonies indicate changing geomagnetism [and] a peek into a dark mystery.