Universiteit Leiden

nl en

New insights in bee decline

Two scientific papers in Science deliver new pieces of the puzzle for the reasons of bee decline. Professor Koos Biesmeijer comment on this research in articles in the Dutch newspapers Volkskrant and NRC.

Bee decline has been in the news for more than a decade. Understanding whether and why managed honeybees or the more than 350 species of Dutch wild bees are declining remains a complex scientific challenge.

Two papers in Science provide some new pieces of the puzzle. Their conclusions and the context of the challenge are summarized nicely in a perspecitive by Jeremy Kerr, also in Science. 

Koos Biesmeijer has been studying status and trends in bees and pollination with his team (including Maarten van 't Zelfde) at Naturalis and CML. The focus has been on answering questions like:

  • Are bees declining?
  • If so, which factors explain the shifts?
  • What is the impact on agro-chemicals on bee decline?
  • What impact will climate change have and are bees still providing the pollination services we need to produce fruits and vegetables?

At CML there is a lot of knowledge in the field of ecotoxicology. Furthermore CML develops and updates, commissioned by Rijkswaterstaat (Ministy of Infrastructure and the Environment), the Pesticidesatlas where exceedances of different compounds of pesticides in the surface water are visualised and examined.

Articles in the Media

Scientific papers in Science

By N. Tsvetkov, O. Samson-Robert, K. Sood, H. S. Patel, D. A. Malena, P. H. Gajiwala, P. Maciukiewicz, V. Fournier, A. Zayed.  Science 30 Jun 2017 : 1395-1397