Refuge colonies created for bees

2014-10-30 14:42
 (Heribert Proepper, AP)

(Heribert Proepper, AP)

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Santiago - An environmental group in Chile has started a campaign to save bees by establishing refuge reserves and promoting urban flower planting.

Bee populations in Chile and around the world have plummeted in recent years due to a phenomena called ''Colony Collapse Disorder'' which scientists say has the potential to wipe-out the pollinating insects.

Dead bees, an all too familiar sight around the world, in Chile, the insects are dying out at an alarming rate.

Paula Pedreros is founder of "Plan Bee", a non-profit organisation which hopes to save the country's bees. She says some years have recorded population declines of up to 40%.

"If we continue as we are, regarding [the use of] pesticides and the [presence of] mono-cultures, the situation with the bees is going to be truly serious if we don't do something immediately."

Known as Colony Collapse Disorder (CCD) the reason for the disappearing bees isn't confirmed, but is widely believed to be caused by the use of neonicotinoid pesticides. And if bees die, humans risk losing up to a third of the crops used in our food supply.

Beekeeper Luis Antonio Fernandez Diaz says bee losses also cause a decline in jobs in the agricultural sector.

Diaz said that, "people who used to have about four hundred crates full of bees, now have sixty, someone who had three thousand, five hundred crates now only has six hundred. And so when you add it all up from talking with other farmers from around here, the reduction has been almost seventy percent because of the bees dying off."

Plan Bee is urging Chileans to plant flowers, and has developed urban hives and the nation's first bee reserve.

Scientists like Pedreros are optimistic that with Chile's diverse ecosystem and water resources, the country can become a global refuge for bees, turning struggling colonies into healthy hives.

For more information check the video below.

Read more on:    chile  |  conservation  |  insects  |  pollution

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