Wednesday, July 6, 2022

Concern over declining bee population

There are growing concerns at the declining bee population in New Zealand, as well as overseas, and the negative impact this could have on the economy.

University of Canterbury ecology professor Jason Tylianakis said these fears were even greater for New Zealand, which relies heavily on the agricultural industry and exports 80% of its food production and crops.

“An agricultural economy like ours depends strongly on pollination and between 60 and 75% of all food crops require animal pollination,” Tylianakis said.
“Wild honey bees have basically all been eliminated by the Varroa mite. Beekeepers are still able to keep hives alive by chemically eliminating Varroa, but if it involves defence then managed hives could be threatened.”

Tylianakis said he understood the value of honey bees working about 430,000 hives in New Zealand was worth $5 billion a year to the local economy.

“We need to manage our agriculture in a way that protects native bees and pollinating flies. We need to reduce the use of insecticides and provide some areas of unsprayed, uncultivated habitat with food and nesting sites in agricultural landscapes,” he said.

Related story: Bee report finds threats

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