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Swiss bee-keepers sound the alarm

The winter of 2009/2010 has hit Switzerland’s bee population hard, with 22 per cent of their number not surviving.

Another eight per cent have suffered so badly that they will not survive much longer, according to one of the country’s leading beekeepers’ associations.

According to a survey, the beekeepers estimate their losses at SFr10 million ($9 million), adding that the ecological consequences will be severe.

The figures are based on the estimates of 18,000 beekeepers in the German- and Romansch-speaking parts of the country.

The exact cause of the deaths remains a mystery, despite several scientific research projects.

According to the beekeepers, the main culprit is the varroa destructor, a parasitic mite from Asia that attacks honey bees.

swissinfo.ch and agencies

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