European crops threatened by honeybee shortages

Photo Credit: Maciej Czyżewski Photo Credit: Maciej Czyżewski

A recent study published in PLOS ONE shows that honeybee shortages may threaten the pollination of crops in Europe. In comparison with the growth of the food industry, bee populations are not able to maintain sufficient numbers to act as the sole pollinators for the crops. Globally, bee populations have been decreasing due to such factors as pesticide use, but crop production, especially in the area of biofuel feed crops such as sunflowers and soybeans, have been increasing rapidly. Researchers looked at the disparity between bee populations and pollination demand, and found that “honeybee stocks were insufficient to supply >90% of demands in 22 countries studied.”  This highlights the importance of maintaining bee-friendly policies, such as the reduced use of pesticides.