On Sunday morning, the South Carolina honey bees began to die in massive numbers.

Death came suddenly to Dorchester County, S.C. Stressed insects tried to flee their nests, only to surrender in little clumps at hive entrances. The dead worker bees littering the farms suggested that colony collapse disorder was not the culprit — in that odd phenomenon, workers vanish as though raptured, leaving a living queen and young bees behind.

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The European Parliament has backed a re-authorization of a pesticide believed to be carcinogenic for another 7 years, despite a widespread protest campaign calling for a full ban instead of a downsized “compromise” deal.

The weedkiller glyphosate is to be given market approval for another seven years, instead of 15 as originally requested, while its use should be limited to professionals only, the European Parliament said in a non-binding resolution approved on Wednesday. The body also advised the chemical shouldn’t be used in public locations, such as parks and playgrounds.

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honey beeThe Environmental Protection Agency has found that the controversial class of pesticides known as neonicotinoids harm honeybees when used on cotton and citrus, but not on other crops like corn, berries and tobacco.

The “neonics” are a class of pesticide that has previously been linked to declines in bee populations. Neonics were developed in 1991 and commercial use began in the mid-1990s. Around 2006, commercial beekeepers began reporting what is now known as colony collapse disorder— where entire colonies of bees die off with no obvious cause. The disorder has been reported in commercial colonies all over the world. Several studies have implicated neonics, which are used to kill insects harmful to crops.

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Seed giant Monsanto Co.’s unwanted takeover bid with Switzerland’s Syngenta AG would face strong resistance in Brazil should it go forward, farmers and lawyers said, a hurdle that could delay or force major concessions to the $45 billion deal.

Much of the public focus on the move has revolved around potential antitrust questions in the United States and the European Union, but challenges could also likely arise from emerging agricultural powers such as Brazil and China.

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A Delaware family poisoned by pesticide while they were on vacation in the Virgin Islands will likely never recover from the illness that left three of them paralyzed, a top island official said this week.

Doctors have lost hope that Steve Esmond, 49, and his two young sons will ever return to normal after falling ill four months ago when they breathed in a highly toxic pesticide while staying at a $800-a-night rental villa at the luxury Sirenusa resort in Cruz Bay, St. John, Virgin Islands Governor Kenneth Mapp said.

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