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Monday, Feb. 13, 2012

It has been more than four years since the mysterious honeybee-killing Colony Collapse Disorder emerged. And more than a few observers predicted it would devastate American agriculture.

But the disorder's effects on pollination and food remain mild. And that's thanks to resilient, ingenious beekeepers and orchard owners.

Colony Collapse Disorder has, since 2007, killed an average of 33 percent of honeybees between fall and spring. Yet as agricultural economists Randal R. Rucker and Walter N. Thurman note, there's "only slim evidence of a small economic impact."

Writing for the Property & Environment Research Center, they remind that birds and bats pollinate, too. Honey and pollinated foods remain abundant and their prices haven't soared. And beekeepers and farmers have found ways to cope.

To wit, beekeepers are splitting healthy hives to form new ones.

The economics-based perspective of Messrs. Rucker and Thurman is a welcome antidote to eyeball-grabbing gloom-and-doom headlines about Colony Collapse Disorder -- and a far more accurate way to gauge the malady's true ramifications.

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