Honey bee demand rising worldwide

May 8, 2009 at 12:20 PM
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NEUQUEN, Argentina, May 8 (UPI) -- Bee production worldwide is increasing, despite a collapse in the number of hives in the United States and Europe, researchers in Argentina said.

The global stock of domesticated honey bees has increased about 45 percent in the past 50 years, said Marcelo Aizen, a researcher at the National University of Comahue.

The increase has been driven by a greater demand for honey from a growing human population rather than by an increased need for bees to pollinate crops, Aizen said in a story published Friday in Current Biology.

The finding dispels the myth of a global pollination crisis sparked by hive devastation in the United States and some European countries, Aizen's team found. The hive decline has been attributed, in part, to parasitic mites and more recently to a disorder known as colony collapse.

Aizen warned, however, the honeybee population worldwide could still find itself stressed by a growing demand for so-called luxury agriculture items, such as plums, raspberries, cherries, mangos, cashews and guavas.

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