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13 December 2010

EU to address mysterious collapse of bee colonies

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The European Commission suggests that more research is needed to find out the exact cause of the sudden increase in bee mortality across the EU

The EU executive yesterday (6 December) adopted a communication on honeybee health, giving an overview of the key issues related to bee health and outlining EU-level initiatives and actions undertaken in recent months.

As bees play a crucial role in pollination, "the disappearance of bees could mean fewer types, as well as a lower yield, of crops, fruits or flowers," the Commission warned.

The European Conservatives and Reformists (ECR) group in the European Parliament stressed that "76% of food production and 84% of plant species are dependent on pollination by bees". "Bees are indispensable for food production," said British ECR MEP Julie Girling.

While pollination can be carried out by other insects, the Commission points out that these are also disappearing. The EU executive underlined that there is "a more general decline of some other insects," such as butterflies, wild bumblebees and hoverflies, probably because "their habitats have shrunk or have been affected by adverse effects on the environment over the years".


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