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My own hypothesis comes from an experience I had walking down the street one hot summer afternoon. It was a low-traffic country street and yet all along it, every few feet it seemed, there were dead and dying bees. It struck me as a tragedy.

I figured the bees are flying low across the street, because they fly near the ground following their memories and searching for food, and passing back and forth countless times over the street they were bound to get struck.

It could equally have been due to a disease infecting the colony. In our department several labs work with bees, and I spend a fair bit of time in the bee colony room. Sometimes a colony will come in that is just infested with mites or some other parasite, and they start dropping (excuse the pun) like flies.

Yes possibly, although I wouldn't expect so many to drop on the road by coincidence when the fields are far more vast. The particular case could be interpreted from many angles, all speculation without testing the bees. Perhaps it was the sheer heat of the pavement under the sun that chocked them. In any case, the startling number of bees in the grille of my car doesn't call for any thought about disease, mites, or pesticides.

Of course I'm not saying cars are the primary cause, but I believe getting struck by motor vehicles may have a major impact on the population. Considering the number of deer-vehicle collisions and similar, it is at least worth considering.

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