Massachusetts probing what killed thousands of honeybees

FILE - In this July 16, 2014, file photo, a bee works on a honeycomb the Gene Brandi Apiary in Los Banos, Calif. The Environmental Protection Agency has found that a major pesticide harms honeybees when used on cotton and citrus but not on other big crops like corn, berries and tobacco. (AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez, File)

REHOBOTH, Mass. (AP) — The Massachusetts’ Department of Agricultural Resources is investigating a massive honeybee kill that has almost entirely wiped out a hive of 80,000 bees.

A representative from the department was in Rehoboth over the weekend to take samples to determine the cause of the bees’ deaths.

Wayne Andrews, vice president of the Massachusetts Beekeepers Association, says as many as 60,500 bees have been killed.

Eric Pilotte, president of the Bristol County Beekeepers Association, says it seems similar to pesticide contamination cases he has seen. Andrews says it is probably the biggest bee kill he has seen in his career.

A Department of Agricultural Resources spokeswoman says they are actively investigating the case.

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