Honey Bee Health in Switzerland

Honey bees in Switzerland can become extinct within 1 to 2 years, warns researcher

Bee colonies are severely weakened by varroa mite, pesticides, according to expert

Timo Kirez


Honey bees in the Alpine republic of Switzerland could become extinct within one to two years, a researcher warned.

“All honey bee colonies in Switzerland are chronically ill,” Peter Neumann, a professor at the University of Bern’s Institute of Bee Health, said in an interview with Swiss news portal Watson.

“And if beekeepers don’t do anything about it, all colonies will be dead in one to two years,” he warned and added these bees are infected with varroa mite – an external parasitic mite that attacks and feeds on honey bees.

He added: “Likewise, there are viruses that have nothing to do directly with the mite.”

Suggesting ways to improve the situation, he called for steps to better inform beekeepers and the general public, and devise methods to protect bees.

In addition, he said, insecticides and pesticides must be abandoned. “There are frightening data on this, it almost blew my mind recently,” the bee researcher said, adding: “It made me wonder why we still have insects at all.”

He also pointed to Africa and South America where honey bees “can cope with the varroa mite without any problems.” It is about time that a solution without drugs is also found in Switzerland, Neumann added.

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