Bee crisis threatens UK fruit farms

Beekeepers report that Britain’s honey bee population has fallen to dangerously low levels causing concern about the pollination of this year’s fruit crops, Reuters reported. Some UK honey producers worry that the country’s supply of native honey may even run out by Christmas.


Honey bees pollinate about 90% of apples in Britain and also play a vital role in the production of crops such as runner beans, pears and raspberries. A wet summer along with more intensive agriculture have limited bee colonies’ opportunities to forage for nectar — the insects’ primary source of food. In addition, 95% of colonies are infested with a dangerous parasitic mite called “Varroa destructor” that affects the insects’ ability to reproduce.


"We are extremely aware of the enormous threat there is to honey bees and the huge reduction in population," said Adrian Barlow, chief executive of the trade group English Apples and Pears. "We are definitely going to be out of English honey by Christmas,” said Stuart Bailey of Rowse Honey – one of the UK’s largest honey producers. “It has been a terrible year."


Other countries including the United States, France and Greece have also experienced huge drops in their bee populations, but the cause of this circumstance is still largely unknown.


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