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EU research cites disease for bee decline

Social and economic changes are responsible for the decline in bee colonies in Europe, concludes an EU-funded study. The cost of treating bee diseases has risen to such an extent that it is no longer economic to keep bees on a small scale, says lead researcher Dr Simon Potts of the UK University of Reading. The authors highlight a decline in “hobby” beekeepers, but state that it is not possible to identify the actual driver of honey bee losses due to limited evidence. Some EU countries in recent years have restricted certain insecticides due to concerns over bees, but a recent European Food Safety Authority study could not establish a link between colony loss and pesticide use ( Agrow No 583, p 7).

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