Turns out that Washington isn't faking its concerns about the plight of honey bees, the little pollinators besieged by killer mites and a weird syndrome that has the hives simply vanishing. Leading the charge in Congress is California Rep. Dennis Cardoza, an agriculture subcommittee chairman who has held a hearing on their plight. His concern is obvious: Without a good bee population, the nut growers in his district fail. But there's another connection: As a boy, he made beehives in school. His wood shop teacher was a beekeeper and needed a good supply of boxes, so he offered extra credit for the work. "He used slave labor," jokes Cardoza. Some Washingtonians even keep bees. Morton Blackwell, president of the Leadership Institute, which helps young conservatives get a foothold in politics and journalism, has been a beekeeper for 25 years. And he thinks he knows what causes the bee vanishing syndrome, known as colony collapse disorder. His theory: Giant hornets are eating the bees as they leave the hive.
With Anna Mulrine