ORONO — Maine is training citizens to help gather information about the range and abundance of the state’s bees.

The Maine Bumblebee Atlas project’s first training workshop was slated for Saturday at the University of Maine in Orono. The University of Maine at Orono and Farmington are coordinating the bee project.

Four bee species native to Maine have fallen from very common to rarely seen since the 1990s. State environmental officials say factors that may be contributing to declines include habitat loss, pesticides and parasites introduced through use of commercially raised bees.

More than two out of five American honeybee colonies died in the past year, and surprisingly the worst die-off was in the summer, according to a federal survey.

Since April 2014, beekeepers nationwide lost 42.1 percent of their colonies, the second highest loss rate in nine years, according to an annual survey conducted by a bee partnership that includes the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

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