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Bees face body searches

BRUSSELS, Dec. 16 (UPI) -- International travelers irate over body searches by security officials will empathize with the humble honeybee.

The European Commission has adopted a decision to examine all imported bees for signs of parasites when they arrive in the European Union in an attempt to protect the EU bee population from two exotic parasites, according to a European Commission statement.

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The small hive beetle Aethina tumida and the parasitic mite Tropilaelaps have so far not been reported inside the EU. But if introduced from third countries, they could severely endanger bee health, the apiculture industry and honey production.

"These two parasites have had a devastating effect on the health of honeybees, the bee industry and the production of honey in affected third countries," said David Byrne, EU commissioner for Health and Consumer Protection. "The EU needs simple import rules to make sure these bee parasites do not hitch a ride to Europe."

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