Russia records a substantial decrease in the bee population

Recent findings determine a significant drop in the bee population in Central and Southern Russia in the recent months.

According to Arnold Butov, the head of Russian beekeepers’ union, twenty regions had witnessed mass bee deaths. Kursk, Bryansk, south of Moscow, and Saratov and Ulyanovsk on the Volga River were some of the main regions to be affected with the change. A detailed report on the loss of bee population was expected to be submitted to the Russian Government by August 1, as determined by Butoy.

In the wake of the situation, the region could face 20% less harvest in honey. Some officials also blamed inefficiently regulated usage of pesticide.

According to rural inspection service Rosselkhoznadzor, Yulia Melano argued that her agency had limited powers to control the usage of pesticide since 2011.Owning to sources, Russia witnessed an annual production of about 10,000 tonnes.

The bee population in Russia was dependent on buckwheat and sunflower, in addition to orchard, which are staple crops, dependent on bees for pollination. As a result, the bee deaths will not only cause an increase in honey prices, but also in those of other popular foods.

The bee population crisis has allegedly spread as far as Altai in Siberia, which is about 4000km, east of Moscow.  The drop in the bee population has caused an alarm in Europe. Experts have observed pesticides- especially prominence of neonicotinoids and varroa mites among beehives and climate change as plausible causes for the decrease in bee population.

As a result, a complete ban on neonicotinoids was undertaken in the EU in April 2018. France also recorded an alarm in June, which had hit several bee colonies; the region records highest bee production in the EU, other than Germany, Russia, Spain, Hungary, Greece and Poland.

The EU produces 25,000 tonnes of honey annually. As a consequence to the crisis, the EU had also accepted a European Citizens’ Initiative (ECI) called ‘Save the bees!’, to tackle the decline in the bee population. The initiative calls for measures to augment biodiversity, bans pesticide and restricts use of fertilizers.

Declining bee populations have caused widespread alarm in Europe, with experts blaming the crisis on a combination of factors: climate change, pesticides – notably neonicotinoids – and varroa mites spreading in beehives.

Should the EU be able to collect a million more signatures for the initiative, the proposal would be considered for legalization. Moreover, the commission is also offering €120m (£108m) in order to support, the EU beekeeping sector.