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» September 7, 2007 «
Scientists report progress in learning the cause of the "colony collapse disorder" that has hurt honeybees in California and other parts of the country. Researchers reported yesterday (Thursday) that they believe the problems may be linked to a honeybee virus that is new to the United States. Tests found the virus in more than 96 percent of bee samples from collapsed colonies. Scientists say they next will expose healthy hives to the virus to see if they then develop the colony collapse disorder.
Navel orange trees appear to be making a comeback from the severe freeze that ruined much of the crop last January. The Sunkist Growers cooperative reports that the new crop looks good, and that individual oranges are sizing well. A Sunkist spokeswoman says farmers have not found permanent damage to orange trees resulting from last year's freeze. The navel-orange harvest should start in late October.
Cities and counties remain free to pass local ordinances that crack down on metal theft. The state Legislature defeated a bill this week that would have blocked the local laws. The California Farm Bureau and county sheriffs have been urging passage of local ordinances until the Legislature passes a metal-theft bill that takes stronger steps to slow the thefts. Farms, schools, businesses and homes have suffered severe losses from thefts of copper wire, aluminum and other metals.
Now that Labor Day has passed, some seasonal certified farmers' markets around California have closed for the year. Others will continue into the fall, and many operate year-round. The California Federation of Certified Farmers' Markets says consumers who want to continue frequenting the markets can find listings of year-round markets on its Web site. The federation says the number of year-round farmers' markets increases constantly.Top