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Shortage of honeybees threatens European food security

A new study has found that in many parts of Europe there are not enough honeybees to pollinate crops. The problem is particularly evident in the UK and other parts of Europe in which honeybee populations have been in decline in recent years. The reasons behind the decline are not clear with factors such as pesticide use and disease implicated. 
In addition the EU renewable fuel directive, in which around 10% of transport fuel must come from renewable resources by 2020, has led to a large increase in the planting of oil crops such as oilseed rape and sunflowers. This has created an extra demand for pollinators, yet even in parts of Europe which have seen in a 7% rise in honeybee colonies this has been dwarfed by the scale of oil crop planting which has increased by nearly a third in the same period.
Scientists believe that this deficit is being made up by wild pollinators such as bumble bees and hoverflies. There is however no monitoring of the numbers of these type of pollinators and an over reliance could hamper yields and threaten food security. The researchers highlight the need for a European strategy to conserve wild pollinators and also a better link between agricultural and environmental policies. 


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Posted on 27/02/14 16:54.
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Posted on 27/02/14 16:54.

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