Northern Europe hit by most bee deaths - EU study

Honeybee There is much concern about the widespread collapse of bee colonies

Related Stories

A new study covering 17 EU countries says that far more honeybees are dying in the UK and other parts of northern Europe than in Mediterranean countries.

The European Commission says it is Europe's most comprehensive study so far of bee colony deaths.

Winter mortality was especially high for bees in Belgium (33.6%) and the UK (29%) in 2012-13. But in spring-summer 2013 France was highest with 13.6%.

Bumblebees and other wild bees were not studied, nor were pesticide impacts.

The study, called Epilobee, described 10% as an acceptable threshold for bee colony mortality - and Greece, Italy and Spain were among the countries with rates below that threshold.

The mortality percentages are national estimates based on representative samples. All 17 countries applied the same data collection standards, the report says.

The survey covered almost 32,000 bee colonies.

But there is also much concern about death rates among wild bees, which are vital pollinators too.

Last year the EU introduced a ban on four chemicals called neonicotinoids which are used in pesticides.

They are believed to be linked to the collapse of bee colonies across Europe, though there is a heated scientific debate over the chemicals' impact and many experts say further studies are needed.

The Commission wanted pesticide impacts to be included in the Epilobee study, but it was overruled by member states' governments.

Infographic

More on This Story

Related Stories

More Europe stories

RSS

Features & Analysis

  • Cartoon of women chatting on the metroChat wagon

    The interesting things you hear in a women-only carriage


  • Replica of a cargo boxSpecial delivery

    The man who posted himself to the other side of the world


  • Music scoreFinal score Watch

    Goodbye to NYC's last classical sheet music shop


  • Former Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton checks her Blackberry from a desk inside a C-17 military plane upon her departure from Malta, in the Mediterranean Sea, bound for Tripoli, Libya'Emailgate'

    Hillary gets a taste of scrutiny that lies ahead


Elsewhere on the BBC

  • Audi R8Best in show

    BBC Autos takes a look at 10 of the most eye-catching new cars at the 2015 Geneva motor show

Programmes

  • A cyborg cockroachClick Watch

    The cyborg cockroach – why has a computer been attached to this insect’s nervous system?

Try our new site and tell us what you think. Learn more
Take me there

Copyright © 2015 BBC. The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites. Read more.

This page is best viewed in an up-to-date web browser with style sheets (CSS) enabled. While you will be able to view the content of this page in your current browser, you will not be able to get the full visual experience. Please consider upgrading your browser software or enabling style sheets (CSS) if you are able to do so.