In recent years many beekeepers in the northern hemisphere annually witness a high number of their honey bee colonies dying. These deaths threaten global food security as the honey bee, as well as numerous other insect species, provides an important pollination service to agriculture.
Through our colony losses monitoring programme and BEEBOOK, we collect data on these deaths in order to provide appropriate information and advice to stake-holders, including government policy-makers.
Currently there are large gaps in knowledge concerning why colonies are dying at such an alarming level.
a diverse array of plants.
The Varroa destructor mite seen on this worker’s back
is a particularly devastating parasite to honey bees
Environmental changes from land-use can also influence honey bee health. Nutrition plays an important role towards disease resistance, yet the diversity of floral food sources for honey bees has been declining in agricultural landscapes. Additionally, the influence of agro-chemicals and pollution on honey bees has been demonstrated in individual honey bees, yet how they affect the colony remains poorly understood.
Honey bees regularly pollinate monoculture crops.
Because of the myriad of factors that influence honey bee health internationally, the most effective means to improve the well-being of bees is to adopt an international, coordinated approach – COLOSS.