In Brief: Bee Populations Continue to Decline

According to the UN’s Environmental Agency, the world’s bee population will keep declining without changes to the way we manage them and their habitat. Since 70% of the crop species that feed 90% of the world rely on bees for pollination, that is a significant issue for humans as well as bees.

To provide some context, the US Department of Agriculture has said that U.S. honey-producing colonies have dropped in population by more than 50% in the past 60 years. At the same time, the Middle East, Europe and parts of Asia have all seen a reduction in bee numbers.

A report released by the Environmental Agency in March recommended that incentives be offered to farmers and landowners to restore bee habitats. Planting key flowering plants would be part of this process.

The Varroa mite, one of the causes of bee reductions, has killed bees in Japan, the Middle East, Europe and North America. Africa, South America and Australia have so far not been affected by the deadly mite.