“We need to speed up research into the massive bee deaths in our country,” says Imker Pim Lemmers. He sees the number of bee colonies dying growing and no one knows exactly the cause. One thing is certain: the Varroa mite is a major threat and even there is no adequate cure for it.

    Varoa mite threatens bee colonies, beekeeper calls for more research

    “Twice in my career I have experienced that my bees died en masse and that is terrible,” says beekeeper Pim Lemmers from Heemstede. Lemmers has been the face of beekeeping in the Netherlands for years and he has also been concerned for years about the declining bee population in our country.

    “Nobody knows exactly why. If it is climate change, it is the pesticides, nobody knows for sure,” says Lemmers. However, he is sure that the Varroa mite is an important cause of bee deaths. That threat is increasing as winters get milder and the dreaded mite is increasingly surviving the winter.

    Varroa mite

    The Varroa mite is a tiny parasite that makes bees so sick that they eventually die. To combat the parasite, the bees are sprayed with liquid or powder that promotes brushing behaviour. While brushing, the bees sometimes also brush away the mite, a method that helps but is not always sufficient.

    The bees are bad, but the wasps are doing well. The two animal species are often confused, but that is unjustified, it concerns a different animal species. There are an exceptional number of wasps this year, but the bees are doing badly. Lemmers: “A wasp is a completely different story, a wasp is a robber, a bee is a flower seeker.”

    “Without bees, the greengrocer’s shop remains empty, no bees, no apples and pears”

    pim lemmers, beekeeper

    The declining bee population is not only annoying for honey producers, but the consequences are much greater than that. Lemmers: “Without bees, no apples and no pears”. Lemmers says that 70 percent of the pollination of crops in our country depends on honey bees, wild bees and other atomizers. “I sometimes jokingly say to my greengrocer without bees, your shop is empty.”

    Lemmers calls for haste with the research into bee mortality in the Netherlands. According to the beekeeper, we have been working on it for decades, but it has still not resulted in a uniform solution. To prevent problems in the cultivation of fruit and vegetables in the future, it is important that the growing bee deaths come to an end.

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