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Beeswax Could Be Threatened by Bee Shortage

February 16, 2009 | Contact Author | By: Katie Schaefer
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The world's population of honeybees is rapidly decreasing, according to a recent report by NewScientist. This decline could be due to infections, lack of food, pesticides and breeding, but the consensus is that honeybees are in trouble.

A honeybee hive produces a number of items popular in everyday life. Beeswax, a popular cosmetic ingredient, is produced from the hive of honeybees. In addition, the report finds that a third of food relies on bees for pollination.

The United States and United Kingdom reportedly lost a third of their bees last year, with European countries seeing a large decline in honeybees and the shortage spreading to Asia. According to the report, the United States and the United Kingdom are both allocating money for bee research.

The report cites the varroa mite, a parasite from Siberia that has now spread everywhere but Australia, as a possible cause of bee decline. Mite infestations steeply reduce bees' resistance to viral infection. The mites possibly could be developing resistance to the pesticides used to control them, forcing beekeepers to use methods that are often less effective.

In France and Germany, the problem was said to be insecticides called neonicotinoids, which France banned them 10 years ago. Some find that combining pesticide sprays could be lethal to the bees. Meanwhile viruses may cause a syndrome dubbed colony collapse disorder (CCD) in the United States, in which adult bees abandon their hive, leaving the healthy queen and young bees to die.

Finally, the way bees are breeding could be to blame, as some researchers believe that honeybees have lost some of their characteristics. Regardless of cause, honeybees could be in danger and their propolis, beeswax, pollen and honey is an important part of human life.