Biotech Updates

Researchers Receive USD 1.6 million to Study Honeybee Decline

October 9, 2009

United Kingdom's Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC) and Syngenta have awarded scientists at Rothamsted Research and Warwick University £1 million (USD 1.6 million) to research the decline of honeybees. UK government figures suggest bee numbers have fallen by 10-15% over the last 2 years; the British Beekeepers' Association (BBKA) quotes a figure nearer 30% for 2008. But the cause of the decline remains an enigma.

The team, which will be headed by Juliet Osborne, will use a combination of field work and computer modeling to look at how the bees' behavior outside the hive, while looking for food, interacts with what is affecting bees in the hive – factors that have historically been studied separately. The ultimate aim of the project is to build a model that will allow us to understand how bees may respond to diseases in a changing farmed landscape.