Czech bee population decimated by parasite
Czech bee colonies have been stung by a warmer-than-usual winter. The balmy temperatures in the Czech Republic over the last couple of months have provided an ideal breeding ground for a parasite which has been wreaking havoc on the country’s bee population. Experts predict that up to half of the Czech Republic’s bees could have been wiped out.
“The warm weather this winter has meant that queen bees have barely stopped giving birth to young bees, in some cases they haven’t stopped at all. The weather has also provided perfect breeding conditions for the parasite Varroa destructor. This parasite gets into the cells of female bees, and means that they give birth to deformed offspring. Bees are being born with damaged wings, with deformed legs, even without legs.”
Estimates suggest that as much as 50% of the Czech Republic’s bees could be wiped out by the parasite. As Mr Šmied explains, this could have far-reaching effects not just for beekeepers:
On Wednesday afternoon, Mr Šmied and other beekeepers are set to meet with the Agriculture Minister Petr Gandalovič to ask for emergency aid. They are seeking money to replenish their bee colonies before summer comes and, as hay fever sufferers well know, the pollen count goes up. For now, the future of Czech bees remains uncertain, but here’s hoping that come summer, the country’s meadows and forests are once again abuzz with bee activity.