Wetenschap - 14 november 2013

Wageningen offers to house bee broker

tekst:
Roelof Kleis

Bee Council asks for broker.
Blacquière: keep broker close to where knowledge is.

Dutch beekeepers need a bee broker, argues the Bee Council in the programme of action on bee health that was handed to state secretary Dijksma at the start of November. According to bee expert Tjeerd Blacquière (PRI), Wageningen UR is offering to house the broker. ‘We think it’s important for the broker to be stationed close to the research.’ Incidentally, the broker will emphatically not be employed by Wageningen UR.

The bee broker is one of the action points in the recommenda­tions made to Dijksma. The idea is that the broker should give bee­keepers access to all the available knowledge about bees. Much of that knowledge is dispersed and is currently not reaching beekeepers.

The Bee Council also advocates a long-term surveillance programme for beekeepers. The aim is to take 150 randomly chosen beekeepers and track beekeeping practices, the health of their bees and exposure to crop protection products over a long period. The study should identify potential causes of bee deaths in the winter.

Ecological crop protection

The manufacturers of crop protection products are prepared in principle to fund half the costs of the monitoring programme.

In addition to a knowledge broker and monitoring, the council also recommends a ‘green list’ of sustainable products and measures for crop protection. The Bee Council also wants to encourage the introduction of more ecologically sound crop protection products to the market. A large number of organizations concerned with bees and bee health are represented in the Bee Council. The group was set up last spring at the request of state secretary Dijksma in order to bring the various players in the bee world closer together. Wageningen UR was represented in all the council’s working groups.

Controversy

For years, honey bees all over the world have been dying in unusually high numbers during the winter, with a sharp reduction in bee population numbers as a result. Controversy has arisen in the Netherlands about the reason. Some are pointing to a certain class of crop production products (neonicotinoids) as the main culprit while others believe that the varroa mite is largely to blame or see the cause lying in a combination of factors.


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