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Since the late 1990s, beekeepers around the world have observed the mysterious and sudden disappearance of bees, and report unusually high rates of decline in honeybee colonies. Bees make more than honey - they are key to food production because they pollinate crops. Bumblebees, other wild bees, and insects like butterflies, wasps, and flies all provide valuable pollination services. A third of the food that we eat depends on pollinating insects: vegetables like zucchini, fruits like apricot, nuts like almonds, spices like coriander, edible oils like canola, and many more… In Europe alone, the growth of over 4,000 vegetables depends on the essential work of pollinators. But currently, more and more bees are dying. The bee decline affects mankind too. Our lives depend on theirs.
A major threat to bees comes from the toxic chemical pesticides used in agriculture. Several pesticides are real bee-killers, especially the ones from the chemical group called the “neonicotinoids”. Neonicotinoids can cause acute and chronic poisoning with deadly consequences for individual bees and entire colonies.
This could occur in the fields when bees fly through clouds of pesticides or in their hives when they feed baby-bees with contaminated nectar and pollen.
In addition to bee-killing pesticides, bees are weakened by climate change, parasites and the increasingly monotonous landscapes created by intensive agriculture that lead to a loss of biodiversity, availability of food and undisturbed habitats for wild bees and other pollinators.