Bee colonies around the world are under threat, the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) said, charging that this was as an effect of factors such as chemicals used in farming and pollution.

New dangerous fungal pathogens are also being spread through global trade movements, hurting the bee population, according to a new UNEP report entitled ‘Bees under Bombardment’.

“The decline of bee populations has serious consequences for food security,” said UNEP. Biodiversity would come under additional pressure without the pollinators.

Declines in managed bee colonies have accelerated since 1998, particularly in Belgium, France, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, Spain and the United Kingdom. The United States, Asia and Africa are also affected.

“Bees are early caution indicators of wider impacts on animal and plant life,” said UNEP, calling for farmers to be offered incentives to reinstate pollinator-friendly habitats.

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