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Buzz buzz How valuable are Swiss bees?

Plantage with cherry trees

Cherry trees pollinated by wild bees in Berneck in eastern Switzerland

(Keystone)

What is the economic value of the Swiss bee? For the first time, scientists have put a figure on their important work transporting pollen between flowering plants.

Experts at the government's agriculture research centre, Agroscope, have calculated that the work of Swiss bees is worth CHF350 million ($365 million) annually.

To come up with this figure, they analysed Food and Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations (FAO) statistics giving the percentage of crops and plants pollinated by bees, and compared them with Swiss crops. These included fruit trees, berries, high-quality sunflowers, rape seed and fava beans.

According to Agroscope, 14% of Swiss farm land is dependent on pollination by bees.

Agroscope researcher Louis Sutter is calling for more habitats and hives that allow bees to develop and get through winter. 

swissinfo.ch with agencies/ug

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