Despite the presence of a large number of pollinators of flowering plants worldwide, the European honey bee, Apis melifera
, plays the most important role in the pollination of a number of crops, including all vegetables, non-food crops and oilseed crops, decorative and medical plants, and others. The experience of isolated cases of complete extinction of honey bees in individual regions has shown that this phenomenon leads to a dramatic pollination crisis and reduced ability or even total inability to grow insect-pollinated crops if relying solely on native, naturally occurring pollinators. Current scientific data indicate that the global bee extinction between the Cretaceous and the Paleogene (Cretaceous-Tertiary) occurred, which led to the disappearance of flowers because they could not produce viable fruit and germinate due to lack of pollination by bees or other animals. From the Middle Ages to the present day, there has been evidence that honey bees have always overcome the adverse factors affecting them throughout the ages, after which their population has fully recovered. This fact must be treated with great care given the emergence of a new, widespread stress factor in the second half of the 20th century—intoxication of beehives with antibiotics and acaricides, and treatment of crops with pesticides. Along with acute and chronic intoxication of bees and bee products, there are other new major stressors of global importance reducing the number of bee colonies: widespread prevalence of pathogenic organisms and pest beetles, climate change and adverse climatic conditions, landscape changes and limitation of natural habitats, intensification of agricultural production, inadequate nutrition, and introduction of invasive species. This report summarizes the impact of individual negative factors on the health and behavior of bees to limit the combined effects of the above stressors.
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License
which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited