Bees are tremendously important to agriculture around the world, with the species Apis mellifera responsible for around one third of all the food that ultimately reaches out plates. Colonies have been mysteriously dying around the world for a number of years, a phenomenon given the name Colony Collapse Disorder. But the World Organisation for Animal Health (OIE) says that no one single cause lies behind CCD. In a way the problem is worse than that – its causes are distributed and varied and there will be no miracle cure.
The 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.
Earlier 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.
In Europe, a recent intruder – the Asian hornet, Vespa velutina – lurks near hives and captures honey bees in mid-flight, devouring them.
Another 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.
More recently a new pathogen, Varroa jacobsoni, has attacked Apis mellifera in Oceania, and now presents a new threat to beekeeping globally.
Full article: http://www.independent.co.uk/environment/no-single-cause-for-mass-die-off-of-honey-bees-oie-1957567.html