COLLEGE PARK, MARYLAND — A nationwide U.S. survey has found that bee colonies are dying off due to harsh winters.
The report by Bee Informed Partnership, a non-profit group led by the University of Maryland, surveyed around 4,700 beekeepers managing around 320,000 bee colonies during the 2018 to 2019 winter season.
Researchers found that beekeepers lost an estimated 37.7 percent of honeybee colonies in the past year alone.
This is the highest number of winter losses recorded by the non-profit group for honey bees ever since they started 13 years ago.
Entomologists from the group told the Guardian that parasites such as varroa mites could be causing an increase in colony losses due to the viruses they carry.
Adding that, pesticides used to remove the mites seem to be becoming less effective.
Beekeepers have been making efforts to split healthy bee colonies in order to duplicate them, according to the newspaper.
Other problems beekeepers need to deal with include bees dying off due to disease, pesticide use and habitat loss.
AUSTIN, TEXAS — Monsanto is being accused of killing off bees around the world, reports NPR.
Bees are being exposed to glyphosate, an ingredient in weed killer, according to a new study published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences
Scientists painted the bees’ backs with colored dots to track them, and found that glyphosate significantly decreased the amount of healthy gut bacteria in honey bees.
This could increase the chance of bees receiving infections or even dying because of harmful bacteria.
They believe glyphosate may be contributing to “colony collapse disorder,” a phenomenon when bee colonies are wiped out.
Scientists encouraged the public to avoid spraying using weed killers that contain glyphosate when they are spraying their flowers.
The researchers involved say better guidelines are needed to regulate use of glyphosate in order to protect bees.
In a statement, Monsanto denied the accusations and claims “no large-scale study has ever found a link between glyphosate and honey bee health issues.”
USA — A vaccine made from two mushroom species, tinder fungus and Red Reishi mushrooms, could be vital in saving the bee population, according to a study published in Scientific Reports.
The researchers specifically targeted mycelia, a cobweb-like fungal membrane, found in both the mushrooms to create the vaccine.
The team conducted their study with two groups of bees exposed to varroa mites. One group was giving mycelium extract mixed with sugar syrup while the other was only given sugar syrup.
The virus levels of the bees were measured and scientists found that those who consumed mycelium extract saw a 45,000-fold reduction in a virus linked to colony collapse disorder, a phenomenon where bee colonies are wiped out.
Scientists involved in the study say they believe the vaccine would help support the immune system of the bees and to “allow natural immunity to be strong enough to reduce the viruses.”
The study comes amid reports of colony collapse disorder leading to the bee population decreasing by at least 30 percent to 90 percent in some areas, according to a report by the Florida Department of Agriculture.