STATE COLLEGE, Pa. (CBS) – Penn State University is leading a $5 million federally funded project to find a solution to the decimation of honeybee colonies.

This multi-center project called the “Bee Informed Partnership” is side-stepping the question of what’s killing bees, so important to crop pollination, according to Dennis van Engelsdorp, the project leader.

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“It’s not just one thing killing bees. It’s a whole bunch of different things killing bees, and so what we’re trying to use is use the same techniques that epidemiologists have used to figure out what practices are best to keep bees alive.”

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Van Engelsdorp says winter loss can reach 30% of colonies and while a beekeeper can start new hives, it’s expensive.  Threats to bees include viruses, mites, colony collapse disorder (which is sort of cascade of illness) and maybe even cell phone broadcasts.

A European study showed an effect of cell phones in hives but van Engelsdorp says, really, who does that?

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Reported by John Ostapkovich, KYW Newsradio