Swiss MPs have set up for the first time a parliamentary group on bees and pollinators.
The group was launched on Wednesday over a honey breakfast, according to a press releaseexternal link from Apisuisse, the umbrella organisation for beekeepers. Apisuisse hopes the initiative will help promote the cause of these threatened but vital insects.
It said 60 parliamentarians had agreed to join the group, making it one of the biggest in parliament. The parliamentary group is headed by MPs Bernhard Guhl of the centre-right Conservative Democratic Party, who is himself a beekeeper, and Mathias Reynard of the leftwing Social Democratic Party.
Apisuisse hopes beekeepers’ concerns will be better heard in the public space and that there will be more political commitment to protecting bees, be they wild or honey bees. In particular, the organisation is urging a coherent strategy to promote biodiversity and effective measures to cut the use of pesticides.
The risk to pollinators through the use of pesticides must be reduced immediately, it says, while further efforts are also needed to combat bee diseases and pests such as the Varroa mite more effectively.
In a recent study, Swiss researchers pointed to a “combination effect” of two stress factors as a reason for the rapid decline of the honey bee: insecticides and the Varroa mite.