No single cause for mass die off of honey bees:
Paris, April 28 2010; Agence
The World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE) has carried out a
global review of colony collapse disorder
huge die-off of bees worldwide, a major threat to crops depending on
the honey-making insects for pollination, is not due to any one single
factor, the World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE) said on
Parasites, viral and bacterial infections, pesticides, and poor
nutrition resulting from the impact of human activities on the
environment have all played a role in the decline, the OIE said.
normal times, bee communities naturally lose around five per cent of
with the syndrome known as colony collapse disorder (CDD), a third,
half -- sometimes even 90 per cent -- of the insects can be wiped
United States, government figures released last month showed a 29 per
cent drop in beehives in 2009, coming on the heels of declines of 36
and 32 per cent in 2008 and 2007.
mysterious decimation of bee populations in the United States, Europe,
Japan and elsewhere in recent years threatens agricultural production
worth tens of billions.
"Honey and royal jelly are examples of precious food that
we owe to bees but foremost we owe them abundant harvesting of fruits
and vegetables since they contribute to pollinate the flowers which
will produce the harvest," said Bernard Vallat, the OIE's
"Bees contribute to global food security, and their
extinction would represent a terrible biological disaster," he
said in a statement.
estimates, around a third of the food on our plates gets there thanks
to Apis mellifera.
global review conducted by OIE experts concluded that
"irresponsible use" of pesticides may damage bee health by
increasing their susceptibility to different diseases.
Inadequate "biosecurity" -- especially protecting
against invasive species - and climate change also likely play a role,
the experts said.
"Resources to establish increased surveillance and
registration processes, inspection, diagnoses and research capacity
are missing in many countries and regions of the world," Wolfgang
Ritter, chair the expert panel said.
research has shown that different bee parasites are active in
different parts of the world.
Culprits already identified include a blood-sucking mite
called Varroa and a single-celled fungal parasite
called Nosema cerenae that causes bee dystentery.
Europe, a recent intruder -- the Asian hornet, Vespa velutina
-- lurks near hives and captures honey bees in mid-flight, devouring
suspect is poor nutrition. Mega-farms stripped of hedgerows and
wild flowers, along with spreading suburbs, are thought to be
depriving bees of a decent diet.
recently a new pathogen, Varroa jacobsoni, has attacked Apis
mellifera in Oceania, and now presents a new threat to
called for more research and adherence to OIE guidelines on
biosecurity in trade of bees between countries, a major cause of
objection to this report is the term 'worldwide', when CC has yet to
be reported in NZ.