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 Press Release



Award winning paper highlights bee declines

A paper written by a team of researchers from the University of Reading, UK and from around Europe, has been awarded theEva Crane Award by the International Bee Research Association as the best paper published in its Journal of Apicultural Research during 2010.

Honey bees are the most important managed pollinators in Europe and make a significant contribution to the pollination of our food crops and also some wildflower species. Recently there have been many reports that bees have been declining, but it was unclear how big the losses were or how widespread across Europe they were. The researchers took up this challenge and brought together information from 18 European countries to track the changes in the number of honey bee colonies and beekeepers over several decades.

In the Mediterranean they found a small increase in colony numbers, but the main finding was that in central Europe about a quarter of all bee colonies have been lost since 1985. In some countries the losses have been particularly severe, with more than half of colonies lost in England in the same period. The study shows that the trend of losses is expected to continue.  It sounds alarm bells for the future reliability of crop pollination and food security.

Lead author Dr Simon Potts says: “This is the first study to quantify the real extent of declines in honey bees across the whole of Europe. Prior to this study, there were a handful of local estimates of honey bee losses and a lot of speculation, but this paper now clearly presents the actual degree of honey bee declines across the whole continent. The health of our pollinators, as documented in our paper, has wide reaching implications for our health and our economy.”

A new paper by Dr Potts and his colleagues is published today in the latest issue of the Journal of Apicultural Research. The paper describes the major new STEP (Status and Trends of European Pollinators,) Project funded by the European Commission. Dr Potts coordinates STEP which will run for five years and bring together leading researchers in 24 organisations from 21 countries with a budget of £4.3 million.  The project addresses the drivers of pollinator loss across Europe and will identify mitigation and adaptation options to reverse declines and improve the management of pollination services across the continent. 

IBRA Scientific Director Norman Carreck says: “these two papers are important because they help to both quantify the loss of bee colonies in Europe, and to outline methods of addressing this problem”

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Award Winning Paper Download pdf

Press Release Award Winning Paper 


Dr Simon Potts, University of Reading, +44 (0) 790 9977618 Email:

Norman Carreck, Scientific Director, IBRA +44 (0)791 8670169 Email:

Notes for editors:-

1. The articles mentioned are available at:-

Winner of the 2010 Eva Crane Memorial Award:

2. Details of STEP can be found at:-

3. The University of Reading is the UK’s top university for impact in Agricultural Sciences (ISI Web of Knowledge, Essential Science Indicators) and the School of Agriculture, Policy and Development (SAPD) was ranked 8th in the world in 2008 in agricultural sciences (Thomson Reuters) and 5th for Research Power in Research Assessment Exercise in 2008.

4. The International Bee Research Association (“IBRA”) is the world’s longest established apicultural research publishers and promotes the value of bees by providing information on bee science and beekeeping worldwide. 

5. IBRA publishes the following peer reviewed scientific journals: –

5.1 The Journal of Apicultural Research was founded by IBRA in 1962.  It includes original research articles, theoretical papers; scientific notes and comments; together with authoritative reviews on scientific aspects of the biology, ecology, natural history and culture of all types of bee.

5.2 The Journal of ApiProduct and ApiMedical Science was launched by IBRA in 2009.  It focuses upon evidence based research being carried out on biologically relevant properties of bee and hive products, and their scientific relevance in the fields of medicine, nutrition and healthcare.  This journal provides a forum where the efficacy and effectiveness of bee and hive products with therapeutic properties can be presented, debated and evaluated using scientific principles.

6. IBRA publishes and sells books on bee science and beekeeping and also provides bee information services.  IBRA is a Registered Charity, and its Council of trustees boasts some of the world’s leading bee scientists. 

7. Membership of IBRA costs just £31.50 annually.  Membership benefits include receipt of four quarterly issues of Bee World, an accessible and topical journal on latest bee research, news, reviews and other relevant information for the bee scientist, beekeeper, and anyone with an interest in bees.

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