NAIROBI (Xinhua) --
The International Center of Insect Physiology and
Ecology (ICIPE) announced Monday in Kenya it will soon start
offering bee health expertise across the globe.
IC Director General
Segenet Kelemu said the research center has over the past decade
been implementing a range of initiatives in bee research,
primarily through the establishment of the African Reference
Laboratory for Bee Health based in Nairobi.
“With the help of
state-of-the-art facility, a partnership with the African Union
Inter-African Bureau for Animal Resources (AU-IBAR) provides a
platform for monitoring and preventing diseases affecting bees
and pests in Africa and the rest of the world,” Kelemu said in a
Kelemu revealed that
through the collaboration with the World Organization for Animal
Health (OIE), ICIPE will extend its services to many of OIE’s
181 Member countries to help reinforce knowledge generation,
exchange and dissemination towards global sustainability of
ICIPE has to date
satellite stations in Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Ethiopia and
Liberia, and a training site in Madagascar where bee health is
given priority as an economic income generating activity for
In Africa, as ICIPE
has shown over the past several decades, honeybees are extremely
critical in improving the lives of millions of people,
especially those living in marginalized areas.
ICIPE Director of
Research and Partnerships Sunday Ekesi told Xinhua in an
interview that bees provide a critical, though often
unrecognized and undervalued free service, through the
pollination of numerous food and non-food crops.
“Bees also pollinate
grasses and forage plants, therefore contributing indirectly to
meat and milk production besides offering 70 percent of the
production of the world’s major crops,” he added.
Ekesi said that
ICIPE is advancing its bee health research activities in
addressing the rising threats to bees in Africa resulting from
factors such as climate change and habitat loss due to
deforestation caused by population pressures, among others.
The Center also aims
to complete gaps in knowledge and to rectify the absence of
systematic procedures and capacity to monitor, analyze and
He said that ICIPE
in collaboration with other collaborators is helping manage the
global community rising anxieties surrounding bee health against
the backdrop of the Colony Collapse Disorder (CCD).
CCD is a phenomenon
that has become a serious problem since 2006 and a major threat
to commercial beekeeping and pollination operations in Europe
and United States of America (USA).
It is caused by
varroa mites’ diseases, pesticide exposure, stresses associated
with modern beekeeping practices and poor nutrition.
“We are offering
knowledge on CCD and mapping bee health risk factors, while
investigating mitigating strategies in Africa and globally with
the help of partners,” Ekesi added.
He said that a
survey by scientists at the institution has revealed the
presence of Varroa mites in many African countries and also
detected a range of agrochemicals, including insecticides,
herbicides, fungicides, and acaricides at low levels, hence
potential threats for bee colonies in Africa.
Ekesi noted that
African honeybees are less vulnerable to brood diseases,
parasites such as Varroa mites, and pests like the small hive
have also found that Africanized honeybees in the USA, many of
which are hybridized crosses with European species, tolerate
these maladies better,” Ekesi remarked
He noted that ICIPE
intend to make its contribution towards alleviating global
honeybee threats by understanding their inherent resilience.
ICIPE was recently
designated by OIE a collaborating Center for Bee Health in
Africa, a role that is expected to elevate engagement with