The Obama administration is taking steps to save bees from extinction. In a memorandum released on Friday, the White House is seeking to create a new task force to investigate the effects of new insecticides on bees and other crucial pollinators. The group will have 180 days to produce a strategy to curb the rapid die-off scientists have observed in the last decade.

The memorandum directs the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to research how neonicotinoids, a special class of insecticide, is linked to bee colony collapse. The USDA has already reported that 31 percent of commercial US bee colonies died off or disappeared in 2012, and the trend has continued since then, causing alarm among food producers who depend on bees to pollinate their crops. While the decline has so far been linked to disease and the destruction of habitats, a recent Harvard study did indicate that exposure to two kinds of neonicotinoids caused bees to leave their hives and die.

The latest effort to save the dwindling bee population

The creation of this task force is only the latest effort to save the dwindling bee population. The European Union has already banned the use of neonicotinoids for two years as a means of curtailing the die-off. Meanwhile, researchers in Australia earlier this year sought to strap sensors on 5,000 bees as a novel means of tracking the insects' movements and how their react to their changing environment.