Mussen, a member of the UC Davis Department of Entomology since 1976, knows honey bees. He is a honey bee guru, a global expert on bees. "Have a question about bees? Ask Eric Mussen." This month, especially, he is in great demand as a news source.

(See Bee careful with pesticides)

The New York Times quoted Mussen in its March 28 article, "Mystery Malady Kills More Bees, Heightening Worry on Farms."

Eric Mussen, an apiculturist at the University of California, Davis, said analysts had documented about 150 chemical residues in pollen and wax gathered from beehives.

"Where do you start?" Dr. Mussen said. "When you have all these chemicals at a sublethal leel how do they react with each other? What are the consequences?"

Experts say nobody knows.

Meanwhile, Mussen spent much of the day today granting news media interviews. On Tuesday, April 2, it will be for Dan Rather Reports: Buzzkill.

It was not so long ago that honey bees drew little attention, despite the fact that they pollinate about one-third of the food we eat.  A three-letter acronym, CCD, changed all that. 

Rich Schubert, a beekeeper in the Winters/Vacaville area, said it best during a question-and-answer session at Mussen's UC Davis Distinguished Seminar on Oct. 9, 2007.

If 5,600 dead cows were found in a pasture, instead of 5,600 dead bees, people would start paying attention, Schubert told the crowd.

So true. And now they are.

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