April 2014 EU reference laboratory on Bee Health points at agricultural practices in Bee Health decline
The European Union reference laboratory for bee health (ANSES) has published a report on the monitoring DG Sanco ordered for, two years ago. The methodology of the monitoring carried out by French laboratory ANSES has been strongly criticized because it included only pathogens and not pesticides nor lack of food resources. Nevertheless, the results of the 1st year of this monitoring are highly interesting and underline the importance to include these two agricultural aspects, highly linked with our agricultural model, to the future steps of the monitoring.
Indeed, the EU reference laboratory could confirm what beekeepers had observed: the great majority of our European honey bee colonies are healthy and pathogens cannot explain the death and weakening of so many colonies. Furtermore, the countries where highest mortalities could be observed presented the lowest disease symptoms across Europe!
These results clearly demonstrate that pathogens are not the cause of honey bee decline on the one hand, and that the two other potential causes of bee decline (pesticides exposure and food resources) are linked to bee decline. PAN Europe thus advocates to see these key aspects being included in the future monitorings.
The European Union is spending 3 million euro on this monitoring that does not include all potential causes of bee decline, PAN Europe strongly criticizes this waste of money. Indeed, the results obtained by the EU reference laboratory will not permit to draw any statistical conclusions as all key factors have not been included in the study. From the beginning, beekeepers point at pesticides, not pathogens, as a cause of the important bee decline but the European Union politicaly decided to go against the field observations and study first pathogens...