What is going on with our bees? The mortality of bee populations has increased above normal levels over the past 10 years. This is alarming because an important part of global food production is dependent on bee pollination.
Beekeepers sometimes lose 30% of their population during the winter. “Research by a.o. the Bee Research Group of Wageningen UR illustrates that the parasitic mite Varroa destructor plays an important role,” says Dicke. “Varroa destructor forms a plague in beekeeping, but there is also a protozoan fungal disease, Nosema, that causes a loss of bees. There are also new pesticides that could be causing the damage. I think it is a combination of factors.”
Currently, only enough honey bee populations are being started to keep the bee level at hand. “I do not enjoy sketching a doom scenario, that we will not have enough to eat in five years,” explains Dicke. “But I am worried about global food production and, in particular, whether we can still offer enough diversity in our food staples. This is why Wageningen must pull the cart with this research. The expertise of the Bee Research Group needs to be strengthened and research requires a fundamental deepening. This cannot be attained without funding. I enjoy involving donors in the research and they are more than welcome to take a look at how we work.”
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