Viewpoint reality examine: Honeybees aren’t disappearing and GMOs don’t trigger colony collapse dysfunction


Myth: The honeybees are disappearing

Truth: In 2020 the EU had roughly 19 million honeybee hives, managed by 615,000 beekeepers. These hives altogether produced 275,000 tonnes of honey. Beekeeping is practiced in all EU Member States the place, collectively, they’re the world’s second largest honey producer, after China with 500,000 tonnes. Regardless of thousands and thousands of hives, individuals are fearful about honeybees. Ask any variety of individuals on the road, and most will declare honeybees are disappearing. Fallacious!

In 2017, the EU had 16.4 million hives, so the 2020 quantity is a rise of 13.3 per cent. Fifteen years earlier in 2003, the quantity of hives within the EU stood at a meagre 8.9 million. At a world degree in 2019 there have been 94 million beehives. In line with the FAO, managed hives have elevated worldwide by 83 per cent since 1961.

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Fable: Mankind has solely 4 years to reside as soon as the honeybees die

Truth: Essentially the most important staple meals crops on the planet, like corn, wheat, rice, soybeans and sorghum, are wind-pollinated or self-pollinating and wish no insect assist in any respect. Roughly 60 per cent of the full quantity of meals grown worldwide doesn’t require animal pollination. Many staple meals, reminiscent of wheat, rice, and corn, are among the many many crops that require no assist from bees. They both self-pollinate or get assist from the wind. These meals make up an incredible proportion of human calorie consumption worldwide.

Nut producing timber reminiscent of walnuts, pecans and pistachios are normally wind-pollinated as effectively. Many economically necessary timber are additionally wind-pollinated, reminiscent of pines, spruces, firs and lots of hardwood timber.

Different staple meals crops, like bananas and plantains, require no pollination of any type, as they’re sterile and propagated from cuttings. Different meals reminiscent of root greens and salad crops will produce a helpful meals crop with out pollination, although they could not set seed. As well as, many hybrid meals crops rely completely on human pollination to supply hybrid seeds. Other than that, many frequent non-hybrid crops, like potatoes or heirloom tomatoes, are self-pollinated.

Among the many different crops that use animal pollinators, there are various levels of how a lot the crops want them. Solely a really small portion completely require animal pollination, whereas many extra are “extremely dependent” on it. Manufacturing of the remaining crops would probably proceed with out bees with solely barely decrease yields.

Credit score: Hannah Ritchie by way of CC-BY-SA-4.0

Though it is rather necessary to guard all species of pollinators from their varied threats, evidently the doom-laden assertion that if the bee disappeared off the face of the earth, man would solely have 4 years left to reside, must be taken with a big grain of salt. Enjoyable reality: though the quote is usually credited to Einstein, thorough analysis has not revealed any hyperlink between the quote and the person.

Fable: Pollinators endure from GMOs

Truth: There have been quite a few claims that individual GMO crops are dangerous to pollinators, however there’s at the moment no proof by any means to help these claims. A lot of the unfavourable influence on hive populations over the previous 20 years might be linked to the varroa mite, not agriculture. Industrial GM crops haven’t been discovered to have any unfavourable penalties in intensive area testing.

The EU Fee in a latest report, recognized many bee pathogens, together with two species of mites, 4 species of fungi, 9 species of micro organism and 12 species of viruses! And if that wasn’t sufficient, there’s a beetle, a louse, a wasp and two species of butterflies on the market to hurt the honeybees. And these are simply the organic pathogens. Then there are a number of abiotic stress elements, reminiscent of intensive agriculture, habitat fragmentation and loss, unsuitable use of crop safety merchandise, poor bee diet resulting in bee hunger and weak bee genetics.

Fable: Colony Collapse Dysfunction in honeybees is brought on by GMOs

Credit score: Wikimedia by way of CC0-1.0

Truth: The sudden and widespread disappearances of grownup honeybees from hives, termed Colony Collapse Dysfunction (CCD), was first documented as early as 1869, lengthy earlier than the arrival of GMOs. Claims have been circulated that insect protected GM crops hurt bees, however these assertions have been refuted by the mainstream scientific group. In line with a number of scientific research it’s quite a lot of elements that are impacting bee well being, largely biotic stress elements, reminiscent of fungi, mites, and different bee pathogens. But additionally, abiotic stress elements, reminiscent of habitat loss and poor bee diet. Genetically modified crops and their influence on honeybees have been extensively studied, and the outcomes point out that GM crops should not dangerous to bees.

Marcel Bruins studied plant breeding at Wageningen College, adopted by a PhD on Fusarium resistance in wheat.  Marcel has been managing international IP portfolios, and extra particularly plant breeders’ rights. Observe Marcel on Twitter @MBruins123

A model of this text was initially posted at European Seed and has been reposted right here with permission. Any reposting ought to credit score the unique writer and supply hyperlinks to each the GLP and the unique article. Discover European Seed on Twitter @EuropeanSeed

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