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Nearly 40% Decline in Honey Bee Population Last Winter 'Unsustainable,' Experts Say

Scientists are researching the potential consequences of the rapid decline of the honey bee population in the U.S. and how to mitigate its effects before it causes dire problems for crop management and production.

Honey bees are essential for the pollination of flowers, fruits and vegetables, and support about $20 billion worth of crop production in the U.S. annually, Matthew Mulica, senior project manager at the Keystone Policy Center, a consulting company that works with the Honey Bee Health Coalition, told ABC News.

Worldwide, honey bees and other pollinators help to produce about $170 billion in crops, Scott McArt, assistant professor of pollinator health at Cornell University, told ABC News.

"Honey bees are one of the most important agricultural commodities in the country," Geoff Williams, an assistant professor of entomology at Auburn University who also serves on the board of directors for the Bee Informed Partnership, told ABC News.

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