Bee mortality in Belgium highest in Europe


Europe’s largest-ever study on the mortality of bees found that Belgium had the greatest number of bee deaths

Most comprehensive bee study ever in Europe

Earlier this week, the European Commission presented the findings of the Epilobee study, the most comprehensive research project ever on the mortality of cultivated bee colonies in Europe. According to the research, 33.6% of bees in Belgium did not survive the winter of 2012-2013, which was the highest mortality rate in Europe for the period.

Denmark, Sweden, Finland, Estonia and Great Britain also had mortality rates higher than 20%, a score considered worrying. In the south of Europe, the situation is much better. In Greece, Italy, Spain, Hungary and Slovakia less than 10% percent of the bees died.

For the study, international researchers examined 32,000 cultivated colonies. Bumble bees and bees in the wild were not included, although their situation is perceived as being even worse. European commissioner for health, Tonio Borg, was nonetheless relatively positive, as the average mortality in the 17 participating member states was less than expected.

The opinion of experts is that the cause of death in many European bee colonies had to do with the use of certain insecticides, the so-called neonicotinoids. The European Commission imposed limits on the use of three neonicotinoids last year. The impact of pesticides was not included in the Epilobee study.

Photo courtesy Wikimedia Commons