The health of bees depends on many factors. For this reason, EU actions cover several policy areas, including:

  • beekeeping and agriculture
  • environment, research
  • pesticides
  • veterinary problems
  • surveillance measures

Beekeeping and agriculture

The beekeeping sector is an important part of EU agriculture. There are around 630,000 beekeepers and 16 million hives in the EU, producing 234,000 tonnes of honey per year. For several years, the EU has been supporting the beekeeping sector through national beekeeping programs and rural development measures. These beekeeping measures were evaluated in 2013. Sustainable agriculture that takes the environment into account can also influence bee health and improve biodiversity.

Environment, research
Many populations of pollinating insects are in decline. This may be due to changes in environmental conditions, such as habitat loss, climate change, invasive species, and pesticide use. To get a better idea of the situation, the European Commission started a process to assess the status of bees, the result of which was published in the spring of 2015 as the European Red List of Bees. The Red Lists of Endangered Species identify species that are in danger of extinction at a European level, so that appropriate conservation measures can be taken.

Existing data is insufficient to clearly understand the reasons for declining pollinator populations. For this reason, the EU has been supporting various research projects on bee health, including a research project on pollinators.

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