There's some doubt as to whether Einstein ever actually said that if honey bees died out, mankind only had four years left to live. But no matter the authorship, the truth is that we are very dependent upon bees for our food product and agricultural industry. And bees are dying, at a dangerously fast pace. By some estimates, a full 1/3 of the bee population has died off, in a phenomenon known as "Colony Collapse Disorder":
(A) mystery malady, dubbed "Colony Collapse Disorder," is sweeping through the apiaries, leaving many hives almost completely devoid of adult bees, which appear to abandon their hives and disappear. Apiculturists are looking at a number of potential culprits, from bad weather to bad corn syrup to genetically modified corn to pesticides to miticides, and many suspect the problem is compounded by the presence of the varroa mite, which weakens colonies so that invading pathogens pack a particularly destructive punch. (Scientists suspect the 2005 die-off was exacerbated by a viral event.) While Miller's bees have not, so far, been affected by the colony collapse, beekeepers in 24 states have reported losses as high as 80 and even 90 percent, and many of the afflicted bees have been in the almonds, rubbing shoulders with Miller's relatively healthy ones.
60 Minutes' Steve Kroft looks at the phenomenon with the apiarist credited for sounding the alarm, David Hackenberg. Full transcripts and video available at their website.