File photo: HENRIK MONTGOMERY / TT
File photo: HENRIK MONTGOMERY / TT

Bees need square meals, too: beekeeping federation

"It's like you and I living on a diet of white bread for six weeks"
0:16 min

A swarm of beekeepers are gathering in Malmö for the fourth annual European Beecome congress, which began Friday and extends through the weekend, to discuss many topics, including major concerns within the world of honeybees.

Philip McCabe, the president of Apimondia, the world beekeeping federation, told Radio Sweden on Friday that bees who are sent out for several weeks to, for example, California to pollinate the almond groves, need more biodiversity, and that farmers need to plant more wildflowers in their fields.

"Bees, for a stable diet, need eight different pollens per day," said McCabe. But when they're working in California, he says, they only get one per day in the form of a pollen patty. He compares this to what would happen if humans subsisted on a diet of solely white bread for several weeks at a time. In other words, it would not be healthy, he said.

McCabe said that more education is the answer to this and other problems bees are facing. "We're now talking to the beekeepers, the farmers, and the politicians and the governments," he said.

"This European conference looks at pollination from an education point of view of telling the public that we need honeybees, because one-third of all the food we consume is pollinated by insects, and 70 percent of that is done by honeybees."

The conference aims for "apiculture for a sustainable future".

"We'll be discussing everything to do with the current situation regarding honeybees, and their somewhat of a demise across the world," said McCabe. 

McCabe explained that chemicals and global warming are a problem for bees.

"If we lose them as we currently are, we're going to be in some sort of trouble," said McCabe.

Listen to the full interview below.

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