Honey bees disappearing in Mississippi

JACKSON, Miss. (AP) - Mississippi Agriculture Commissioner

Lester Spell says his agency will begin offering financial

assistance to beekeepers in an effort to reverse the recent decline

in the state's honey bee population.

Spell recently announced the financial assistance will be made

available to eligible beginning beekeepers who establish up to four

colonies of honey bees. By showing proof of purchase for two hives,

Spell says, a new beekeeper may receive a reimbursement of up to

$180 for one of the two hives and bees. Qualifying applicants can

receive a maximum reimbursement of $360.

The program is administered through the Mississippi Beekeepers

Association and is being funded through the Specialty Crop Block

Grant Program. Applicants must apply by April 1, 2009.

(Copyright 2008 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)