Bees are a fundamental part of sustainable agriculture. Bees and other pollinating insects are responsible for the pollination of more than 80% of crops in Europe. So it’s been extremely worrying to see a mass decline in them over the past years. It’s got to such a critical point that this year the EU has funded a nine-month research project to better understand the problem and investigate the potential cause.

Hubert Deluyker, EFSA’s Director of Scientific Cooperation and Assistance, who is leading the project said: “This project will be an important step forward in international efforts to understand and help tackle the reported decline in bee populations, which could have widespread implications not only in environmental terms but also with regard to the food chain”.

“I strongly encourage scientists and other interested parties – such as beekeeping associations, for example – to share their valuable scientific data, knowledge and experience with the organisers of this project,” he added.

The sudden and dramatic decline in bee populations is called Colony Collapse Disorder (CCD). Many theories have been put forward to the potential cause of CCD, including the use of pesticides in farming. For further information ESFA has published a list of FAQs on bee mortality and bee surveillance in Europe alongside their press release.

PI is tracking the ongoing conversation and available research on bees and CCD and thought the following article written by bee expert Kim Flottum in America, called Colony Collapse Disorder Showing Up Again in East Coast Hives, published on The Daily Green, The Consumer’s Guide to the Green Revolution. It shows that this season in California CCD is back; worse than expected, yet still with no obvious cause.

Also La Croix published an article yesterday called Surmortalité des abeilles: plus de 40 causes recensées, which is worth reading to get a view on the situation in France.

As ever, PI welcomes comments, supporting information or links to the latest news on CCD and so would EFSA.

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