Let's get busy like bees

by Agnès Rortais 03.03.16

Welcome to #Efsa4Bees. Whether you are a scientist, a researcher or simply a bee-lover, we hope you will find these pages informative and inspiring. EFSA is carrying out some exciting, ambitious work on bee health and we decided to bring it together in one place so that all our partners and stakeholders can follow our progress and perhaps give us a helping hand along the way.

At the heart of our work is a major project aimed at developing a holistic approach to the risk assessment of multiple stressors in bees. It’s a bit of a mouthful, which is why we’ve shortened the title to MUST-B (also because MUST-B has a suitably optimistic ring to it!) – you can find out all about the project by clicking on the button at the top of the page.

The section Why are bees in decline? gives the backstory to the project. We know broadly what kills bees, but how do these different factors combine and interact to hurt bees? And how can we measure these negative effects? These are the big questions that EFSA – and its working group of experts – are attempting to answer.

For a neat overview of the issues and challenges that face scientists working in bee health, take a moment to scroll through our infographic Bees under attack.  

Finally, you can keep up with our activities via this blog, where we will share not just updates from EFSA but also links to all the latest papers, studies and events related to risk assessment and bees. We hope you will help us to build our digital colony by posting your own comments and contributions and by looking out for our hashtag on Twitter. Let’s work together. Let’s be more like the bees!

Agnès Rortais is a bee specialist at EFSA.

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Comments

I welcome the new website and the recognition of the issue of pollinator decline and associated transparency of regulation. However, many of the pollinator declines involve wild pollinators - bumblebees, solitary bees, moths and hoverflies for instance, and these thousands of species are responsible for c.90% of pollination. It would be good if the website recognised the importance of wild pollinators as well as the honeybee.
Name of organisation: 
Buglife

I think the main problem in wintering bees is the use of dimethoate in treating olives flies. Dimethoate is used from july to september and also in ppm it damage the broad of the winter workers, reducing them life and number, in this way the colony is weak and don't survive to winter. If you solve the problem of the use of larvicides you solve the problem.
Name of organisation: 
azienda agricola paolo falleroni italy

I would like to make a statement on stressors in general. I do not find sufficient attention for the human factor (behavior of the beekeeper) in all of this. As a free time beekeeper for more than 30 years I feel that this is a largely overlooked aspect. The behavior of the beekeeper and the motivation to keep bees do play an important role in the availability of honey bees. Just have a look at the evolution of the number of beekeepers and the evolution of the average age of the beekeeper. Beekeeping is expensive and with the actual problems occurring becomes even more expensive. Socially it is an activity which is not fitted for modern households of today because it requires a tremendous amount of work which cannot be combined easily with professional live nor with social live. Additionally it is my experience that most beekeepers do want to have some acceptable return of their costs and they do not see it as most people would look at regular hobbies. As a consequence it has an impact on the (temporary) distribution of hives in certain areas like fruit growing as rented strong hives are brought in without taking account of the existing available hives. Many times these hives remain at the spot even after flowering of the orchards and staying with limited or no resources (nectar producing vegetation). It has its effect on spreading of diseases but even more important it increases the speed of disappearance of the weaker hives through severe robbery from stronger colonies brought in for pollination only and paid for by the fruit grower. I do not want to touch on the aspect of interaction between different species of pollinators here. Of course you could say all of this comes under trade and movement of bees, I agree. But when talking about stressors on bees the human factor from the beekeeper side in this deserves the necessary attention which is of course not the main cause but anyhow is more important than anticipated as I experienced with my own eyes.
Name of organisation: 
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