Friday, April 07, 2017

Study argues that human behavior is overarching reason for decline in bee populations

Bee Informed graphic
Humans are the biggest reason for the decline in honeybee populations, says Robert Owen, author of The Australian Beekeeping Manual, in a study published in the Journal of Economic Entomology. Other studies have blamed neonicotinoid-based pesticides, varroa mites, disease and poor nutrition for declining honeybee populations.

Owen writes, "Although the environmental and economic implications of honeybee decline may be mitigated by changes in human behavior and governments in some instances share the responsibility for implementing these changes, I would argue that most change should occur in the behavior of individual keepers."

Owen partly blames the decline of bees on overuse of pesticides and antibiotics. He also argues that "the global trade in honeybees and honeybee products has spread pathogens that might otherwise have remained localized" and "migratory beekeeping has spread pathogens within countries." Also, the lack of skill or dedication among hobbyist beekeepers lead them to inadequately inspect and manage colonies for disease.

As an example, he said that of the 2.66 million managed honeybee colonies in the U.S., "1.8 million were transported to the Central Valley of California in February 2016 to pollinate the almond crop." He writes, "It is likely that these colonies spread mites, beetles, viruses and other pathogens between colonies involved in almond pollination."

No comments: