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The Loss of the Honeybees



The Loss of the Honeybees
Reading Level
     edHelper's suggested reading level:   grades 8 to 12
     Flesch-Kincaid grade level:   7.92

Vocabulary
     challenging words:    alarming, further, selective, mite, imbalance, beekeeper, beginning, annoyance, definitive, paralysis, disappearance, organic, exaggerate, numerous, infest, banned
     content words:    United States, American Beekeeping Federation, Greg Fallen, New Jersey, New York, Colony Collapse Disorder


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The Loss of the Honeybees
By Jennifer Kenny
  

1     Think about what you know in regards to the food chain. Think about the arrangement of animals and plants in the food chain. Which ones feed on the ones below them on the food chain? How are certain animals dependent on the other ones? What would happen if one animal disappeared from the food chain completely? That's a question scientists are asking themselves right now in regards to honeybees.
 
2     Honeybees appear to be vanishing on numerous farms in the United States. In approximately 27 states, beekeepers are reporting catastrophic losses. According to the American Beekeeping Federation, 700,000 of the country's 2.4 million bee colonies have been affected. What kind of toll will this take on the food chain in the United States? Why is this disappearance occurring at all?
 
3     Greg Fallen is one such apiarist, or beekeeper. Last winter on a rather warm day, he decided to visit the farms where he kept his hives. He was shocked to find that three-quarters of the hives were completely wiped out. That means out of two hundred hives, only fifty remained. Greg wasn't alone. His fellow beekeepers were beginning to notice the same thing. Many lost one-third to ninety-nine percent of their bees.
 
4     To many people, bees can be an annoyance for obvious reasons. For farms that need their crops pollinated, honeybees are an important part of the plan. For example in New Jersey, honeybees pollinate about eighty percent of the crops. The U.S. Department of Agriculture goes further and states that commercially raised honeybees pollinate around $20 billion worth of crops each year.

Paragraphs 5 to 13:
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Extended Activities:

1.  Research the life cycle of honeybees.

2.  Create a 3D honeybee.

3.  Draw a diagram of a food chain in the region where you live.



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