Here's a look at some of the big moments in the history of American bees and beekeeping:
1622 -- The first known record shows European bees being shipped to the American colonies, from England to Virginia. Wild, native American bees -- representing nearly half the world's 7,000 species -- don't live in hives or make significant quantities of honey.
1800 -- By this time, European honey bees were widely distributed from the East Coast to the Mississippi.
1850 -- By this time, European honey bees were found from coast to coast.
1852-1865 -- Technological improvements allowed for better management of bees, leading to increased colony size and honey yields.
1896 -- Disappearing disease, an undiagnosed ailment that causes the disappearance or death of honey bees, is noted in parts of the United States.
1900s -- European foulbrood disease strikes American colonies in the early part of the century, before disease-resistant stocks were introduced in the 20s.
1922 -- Congress bans the importation of bees.
1960s -- Disappearing disease again strikes, this time in Texas and Louisiana.
1975 -- At least 27 U.S. states, in addition to Mexico and Australia, report incidents of disappearing disease.
1984 -- Tracheal mites are found for the first time in Florida bee colonies.
1987 -- Varroa mites are found in Florida bee colonies, causing death to some colonies in as little as seven months.
1990 -- Africanized bees (aka "killer bees"), first brought to Brazil in 1952, reach the United States in Texas. As of 2007, they were found in nine Southern and Southwestern states.
1990s -- Widespread use of a popular antibiotic leads to resistant strains of American foulbrood disease, a particularly problematic bacterial infection. Varroa mites soon also develop resistance to a commonly used pesticide.
2000 -- A Cornell University report estimates that the economic value of honey bees as pollinators is $15 billion.
2003 -- Varroa mites that are resistant to approved pesticides become more and more common.
2005 -- For the first time since 1922, honey bees are imported to replenish dwindling American populations. Some have estimated the population loss since the 1980s at 50% but the available data is not comprehensive.
2006 -- A National Academy of Sciences report warns that continued declines in populations of North American pollinators, particularly European honey bees and native bumblebees, could threaten 75% of all flowering plants, including most food crops.
2007 -- Colony collapse disorder is coined to describe an apparently new affliction striking bee colonies. Affected hives empty as bees fail to return after leaving to forage. Beekeepers in at least 35 states have reported significant losses of up to 90 percent, prompting government investigations, Congressional deliberations and widespread public concern.
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