European beekeepers warned of ‘disastrous’ harvest

A major European beekeepers group held its annual meeting in France this week. The group expressed concern about the effects of climate change. parasites and pesticides both to bees and to the world’s food supply.

Beekeepers said that bees are dying in large numbers. They also noted that bees are not producing as much honey as they used to.

Beekeepers said that Europe produces only 60 percent of honey consumes. According to the group, production in France has fallen by more than 50 percent since the 1990s.

The beekeeping group said the announcement on the state of bees in Europe gives beekeepers and scientists a chance to respond to climate concerns.

The spokesperson of the French National Union of Beekeepers is Henri Clement. He is a beekeeper from the south east of France. He said that he has been beekeeping for 30 years and tries to keep the bees healthy. But if he had to consider a career for himself today, he said, he might not want to raise bees.

He is nearing retirement and wonders if younger people will take up the job.

FILE – An Asian hornet (Vespa velutina) chases a bee near a beehive in Loue, northwest France on September 14, 2019. (Photo JEAN-FRANCOIS MONIER / AFP)

Everyone at the event was talking about chemicals known as pesticides that harm bees. They are also climate change and invasive insects and parasites that kill and harm bees beehives.

Climate threat

Jeff Pettis is a US-based entomologist. He is also the president of the Apimondia group, which represents beekeepers in 110 countries. He said that bees are at risk due to climate change. When parts of the world are warmer and drier than in the past, the plants that bees depend on can’t thrive. Sometimes he said “there are no flowers”. Without flowers, bees cannot gather pollenwhich means they can starve to death.

Pettis also said wildfires hurt bees. He called the fires “a big problem”.

Pettis had written a report in the past about a plant called cypress that produced large amounts of pollen. He wrote that as the amount of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere increases, the amount of protein in pollen decreases.

Most bees in North America depend on goldenrod pollen to survive the winter.

He said the pollen problem could also affect other plants.

In both France and the United States, 30 to 40 percent of beehives die each winter.

Man-made threats

French researcher Jean-Marc Bonmatin said some pesticides harm bees more than others. A type of pesticide called a neonicotinoid is absorbed or absorbed by the whole plant. Other pesticides only affect the part of the plant they are on it is applied. Neonicotinoids can affect the pollen and nectar ingested by bees. The pesticides then poison the bees.

Since 2013, the European Union has restricted the use of some of these pesticides. The EU banned them completely in 2018. However, some countries allow farmers to reuse them under “emergency” conditions. permissions.”

Bonmatin said there is something that could help farmers make better choices. A newly developed computer program will allow them to find out whether the pesticide they want to use is harmful to bees. Farmers will not have to pay for computer software.

Pettis noted that there are ways people can help bees. According to him, farmers should start planting a wide variety of crops and not depend too much on crops that need pesticides. He called this kind of farming”Resistant” and “organic.”

In addition, he said, bees can sometimes live alone without the special help of humans. He talked about the black bee found in the northwestern part of France. The bee is still alive despite being attacked by parasites and deprived of additional food by humans.

He said the bees “survive very well without us.”

I’m Dan Friedell.

Dan Friedell adapted this story for VOA English Learning, based on a report by AFP.


Words in this Story

parasite – n. an animal or plant that lives in or on another animal or plant and receives nourishment or protection from it

pesticide – n. a chemical used to kill plants or animals or insects that harm plants

to consume -v. to eat or drink something

invasive -adjective. something that is not native to a new area

beehive – n. a place built by bees to live and store honey

pollen – n. fine dust produced by a plant that is carried to other plants by wind or insects

apply -v. to put or spread something on a surface

permission – n. is the act of giving permission

Resistant -adjective. it can be used completely without being used or destroyed

organic -adjective. food grown without the use of chemicals


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