Bee colonies around the world are under threat, the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) said Thursday, charging that this was as a result of factors such as chemicals used in agriculture and pollution.

New virulent fungal pathogens are also being spread through global trade movements, hurting the bee population, according to a new UNEP report entitled ‘Bees under Bombardment’.

“The decline of bee populations has serious consequences for food security,” said UNEP. Biodiversity would come under further pressure without the pollinators.

Declines in managed bee colonies have accelerated since 1998, especially in Belgium, France, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, Spain and the United Kingdom. The United States, Asia and Africa are also affected.

“Bees are early warning indicators of wider impacts on animal and plant life,” said UNEP, calling for farmers to be offered incentives to restore pollinator-friendly habitats.

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