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Expert conference held to prepare proposals for solving world beekeeping challenges

Žirovnica, 18 May 2018 – More than 150 experts from Slovenia and abroad gathered at the World Bee-Keeping Conference in Žirovnica to provide specific proposals to call for a better protection of bees and other pollinators. The conclusions of the conference organised by the Slovenian Beekeepers’ Association will be presented to politicians at tomorrow's international ministerial conference in Brdo pri Kranju.

Boštjan Noč, President of the Slovenian Beekeepers’ Association and the initiator of the idea for World Bee Day, emphasised that without the help of bee-keepers, bees cannot survive today. “World Bee Day is intended to raise awareness of the significance of bees and, as a result, to create the conditions for their survival.” The World Bee-Keeping Conference in Žirovnica is bringing together experts who will present issues in their fields of expertise and propose solutions. “Bees are endangered, let’s help them,” was his plea.


In his opening address, the President of the international bee-keeping organisation Apimondia, Philip McCabe, stated that bees are the most important pollinators and their life cycle depends on their interactions with blooming plants. “Bees pollinate from 71 to 100 crops that provide 90% of the world’s food. In Europe, there are 264 species of crops, of which 42% are pollinated by animals, and 4000 species of vegetables exist thanks to the pollination by bees.” He stressed that by way of measures to protect bees a chain reaction that will have positive effects on the general health of our environment is initiated. “Honeybees do not only pollinate plants, but also contribute to conserving the diversity of wild flowers,” he concluded.


For various reasons, mainly due to intensive agriculture and climate change, the number of pollinators in the world is critically decreasing, so the main message of the discussions was that suitable measures to preserve pollinators must be taken. Experts emphasised that pollinator-friendly farming must be established and the use of pesticides that are harmful for pollinators must be prohibited. Plants that will provide bees and other pollinators with food throughout the year must be planted in the environment, while the sowing of nectar-bearing plants in public urban areas must be increased. 


Among the diseases that put bees at risk, Varroa mites are number one, yet substances for their control have harmful effects for bees and their produce. Experts called for control of Varroa mites using substances that do not leave traces in honey and to develop Varroa mite control technologies with organic acids and essential oils.  


Due to an increase in counterfeit honey, methods for a quick discovery of counterfeit honey should be introduced, control of honey should be increased, and databases on the ingredients of real honey must constantly be updated.


In their conclusions, they also stressed the importance of sharing bee-keeping knowledge, mainly in countries suffering famine due to decreased pollination, and the need for research concerning the application of bee products for medical purposes. 


The above conclusions will be presented in the opening part of the international ministerial conference on the significance of bees and other pollinators for sustainable agriculture and ensuring food security, which will be held in Brdo pri Kranju, and tonight a memorial dedicated to the Carniolan honeybee will be unveiled in the old town centre of Višnja Gora.


The main ceremony observing the first World Bee Day will be on Sunday in Žirovnica, and it will be held under the honorary patronage of the President of the Republic of Slovenia, Borut Pahor. 

 

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More information on the World Bee-Keeping Conference: Boštjan Noč, President of the Slovenian Beekeepers’ Association (phone no.: +386 (0)1 41 860 625, e-mail: nocb@czs.si); Dr Peter Kozmus (phone no.: +386 (0)1 41 352 997, e-mail: peter.kozmus@czs.si)