Beekeeping - Potential risk to wild pollinating insects
Can the keeping of honeybees have negative effects on populations of wild pollinating insects in Norway? This is the focus of a risk assessment commissioned to the Norwegian Scientific Committee for Food and Environment (VKM) by the Norwegian Environment Agency.
The National Pollinator Strategy highlights the potential risks posed by beekeeping to wild pollinating insects, risks that arise mainly from resource competition and the transmission of diseases and parasites.
In Norway, the keeping of honeybees dates back to the 18th century. According to the Norwegian Biodiversity Information Centre, it remains uncertain whether natural occurrences of honeybees existed before this period.
Presently, approximately 1,000 beekeepers are registered in Norway, with a single beehive housing up to 60,000 bees. Given the scale of beekeeping, it may potentially pose a risk to wild pollinators in Norway.
VKM is tasked with summarizing the available literature on the effects of beekeeping on wild pollinating insects. VKM shall also assess whether beekeeping poses a risk to wild pollinators in Norway, including the effects hive numbers and placement of beehives might have on populations of wild pollinators.
Additionally, VKM is to identify and assess measures that can help mitigate the potential risk beekeeping has on wild pollinating insects.
The project group consists of:
• Anders Nielsen, VKM Panel on Biodiversity (Chair of the project group)
• Lawrence Kirkendall, VKM Panel on Biodiversity
• Claus Rasmussen, external expert from Aarhus University
• Markus Sydenham, external expert from the Norwegian Institute for Nature Research (NINA)
• Bjørn Arild Hatteland, external expert from the Norwegian Institute of Bioeconomy Research (NIBIO)
• Henning Sørum, external expert from the Norwegian University of Life Sciences (NMBU) - School of Veterinary Medicine
• Jo Skeie Hermansen, VKM Secretariat, Project Manager
• Daniel Flø, VKM Secretariat, Project member
• Kristin Opdal Seljetun, VKM Secretariat, Project member
The risk assessment is subject to approval by the VKM Panel on Biodiversity with supplementation from the VKM Panel on Animal Health and Welfare and is scheduled for publication in the middle of June 2024.