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Decreasing death rate for bees in Burgenland

In Burgenland (Eastern Austria) hundreds of bee colonies died in winter 2012. The beekeepers presumed that the cause of this mass death was a pesticide used for corn. This year things look better.

Beekeepers have demanded a ban on specific pesticides, which protect corn from parasites, for many years. These chemicals are regulated in Austria but they are not forbidden. Other countries are much stricter here.

A discussion on this was also a main issue in the annual general meeting of the Burgenland beekeepers.

Currently, the bees are doing comparatively well, said Gottfried Wenzel, Vice president of the Regional Beekeeper Association. "This year we have rarely had any reports of losses and we hope that it will be better than the previous year."

Mr Wenzel also said that the reduction in deaths could also be due to the cold winter weather. It was a lot milder in January last year and thus the mass death of the bees was apparent earlier.

The beekeepers will only be able to tell if and how many bee colonies have died in the middle of March.

According to Mr Wenzel, more and more people are interested in beekeeping. Last year there were 31 new registrations to become beekeepers in Burgenland, with the majority being women.

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