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Impact Of Environmental Change On Honeybees And Beekeeping

Shelley E. R. Hoover, Trent M. Hoover
Published 2014 · Biology

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Honeybees, in addition to the economically important hive products they produce, are valuable pollinators of both agricultural crops and natural ecosystems. Environmental changes will affect populations of honeybees through changes to available floral and nesting resources, and the distribution and virulence of parasites and pathogens. Drivers of environmental change alter the timing and abundance of flowers, as well as the amount and quality of nectar and pollen produced, thus affecting both the survival of honeybee colonies and the economic viability of beekeeping operations. Geographic distributions of Apis species and sub-species, and important bee diseases and parasites will shift as climates change, exposing honeybees to novel parasites and pathogens. The plasticity and genetic variability of Apis mellifera make it less vulnerable to climate change than more specialised species, and natural or directed selection can be used to derive bees suited to new environmental conditions; however, beekeepers must vigilantly monitor colony health, forage availability, and adaptively manage their colonies.
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