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European bees at best health level in years as overwintering losses of colonies sink to record low

European bees are much healthier than many recent media publications appear to suggest. New field data from nearly 400,000 bee colonies from 21 countries in Europe and the Mediterranean show that overwintering losses of honey bee colonies – an important indicator of general bee health – were at their lowest level in years in 2013/2014.

“It is great to see that our bees have come out of the 2013/2014 winter in the best shape for many years,” says Dr. Christian Maus, Global Pollinator Safety Manager at Bayer CropScience. “These results are also very telling since the data relate to a season during which neonicotinoid-based crop protection products were still in common use throughout Europe. This offers further evidence that these important components in the toolbox of farmers do not impact the survival of honeybee colonies during overwintering under real-life field conditions,” Maus adds.

The non-profit honey bee research association COLOSS (prevention of honey bee COlony LOSSes), which comprises more than 360 scientific professionals from 60 countries, has published new data showing that the overall mortality rate of bee colonies in the 2013/2014 winter was on average 9 percent – losses below 10 percent are considered to be normal. This compares with loss rates of up to 37 percent that were recorded from individual countries in previous years.

Click here to read more at cropscience.bayer.com

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