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Bee colony collapses now seen in Asia and Africa

Declines in managed bee colonies, seen increasingly in Europe and the United States over the past decade, are also now being observed in Asia and Africa, according to a new report from the United Nations Environment Program (UNEP). Chinese beekeepers have recently "faced several inexplicable and complex symptoms of colony losses in both species," the report says. About 25% of beekeepers in Japan "have recently been confronted with sudden losses of their bee colonies," while in Africa, beekeepers along the Egyptian Nile have been reporting signs of "colony collapse disorder," although to date there are no other confirmed reports from the rest of the continent. The report lists a number of factors which may be coming together to cause the decline, including: habitat degradation, insecticides, parasites and pests; air pollution; and climate change. UNEP scientists are calling for farmers and landowners to be offered incentives to restore pollinator-friendly habitats, including set aside strips of land for wild flowers next to crops, and more care in the choice, timing and application of insecticides and other chemicals.

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