From the San Francisco Chronicle:
After tumbling to a 23-year low in 2007, California's commercial honeybee population seems to be on the rebound - though a mysterious and deadly epidemic persists in ravaging some colonies.
Apiarists in the state, most of whom rent their bees to farmers for crop pollination, say this and last year's wet winters - and more plentiful greenery - may have helped temper the effects of "colony collapse disorder," a little-understood scourge that has virtually wiped out some bee stocks across California and the United States.
The number of honeybee colonies in California is at its highest level in seven years - good news in a state where the black-and-yellow bug represents a critical link in the multibillion-dollar food-production cycle. In their search for nectar, the buzzing insects unwittingly distribute pollen - the equivalent of male sperm - to the female part of plants. Nearly 100 California crops, including melons, sunflowers, carrots, cauliflower and almonds, rely on bee pollination.
For more, see: Honeybees making a comeback in California