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Honey Bees face a global fight

New Zealand - 20 May 09

The plight of the honeybees: the latest news, possible soultions and a Scottish call to action

To see the earth as an interconnected ecosystem is difficult. When a key species, in this case honeybees, faces a challenge that threatens their survival this interconnection become apparent. The honeybee is thought to be responsible for the pollination of about one third of the human food supply.

Since late 2006 the population of honeybees has significantly declined thanks to a phenomena called, Colony Collapse Disorder (CCD). Hive populations have dropped across the North America, Europe and parts of the rest of the world. With some countries experiencing losses of up to 40% of their hive populations

CCD is not well understood. The causes are thought to stem from varroa mites, insect diseases and long term effects from pesticides use.

In Scotland, Ministers fear that the falling number of bees could spell disaster for humans. They have urged the government to increase funding to research on bees and to take actions to protect bee populations.

While in New Zealand, scientists have been developing ways to destroy he varroa mites, which are thought to be a main cause of CCD. Scientists have been breeding bees that exhibit resistence to the varroa mites.

Meanwhile, other scientists have also been exploring the introduction of varroa’s natural predators, chelifers, on a commercial scale. Before this can happen a number of questions need to be answered including how feasible chelifers are as a long-term solution.

In North America, Häagen-Dazs a popular ice cream producer has started its Häagen-Dazs Loves Honeybees campaign in an effort to bring attention to the importance of honeybees and how their disappearance will affect us all.

Sources:
BBC News
Scoop Independent News

Jonathan Salibra
j.salibra@slowfood.it



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