The collapse of US honeybee colonies this year is set to devastate America's multibillion dollar agriculture and food industries.
Last year about 750,000 of the 2.5m hives in the US were wiped out in mysterious circumstances, and already this year the American Beekeeping Federation says there is evidence from its members that losses will be even greater this year.
For the first time individual businesses have stepped forward to give money to try to speed up the process of finding out, first of all, what causes colony collapse disease (CCD) and then eradicating it.
Häagen-Dazs, the ice cream making subsidiary of General Mills, gave a total of $250,000 (£127,000) to two university research teams and Burt's Bees, the personal care products maker, made a undisclosed grant to create the Honeybee Health Improvement Project, a research task force.
Read more about why bees are dying.
Read more about the history of Burt's Bees, another company directly affected by the disappearance of bees from America.
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