Bees not only provide products for consumption such as honey and pollen, and bee wax for other products, but are also important pollinators of plants, both in agriculture and in the wild. Seventy-five percent of the world’s flowering plants and about 35 percent of the world’s food crops depend on animal pollinators to reproduce. More than 3,500 species of native bees help increase crop yields.
Honeybees and honey production in Africa differ from many other places as it relies to a large extent on domestication of wild bees. However, as they are domesticated, wild bees are prone to the same diseases and pests as other honeybees.
In recent years a decline has been seen in bee populations worldwide. The phenomenon (Colony Collapse Disorder) is not fully understood but is related to a combination of stress from the environment and pollution, pests and pathogens and genetic diversity and vitality.
Important honeybee diseases are included in the OIE Terrestrial Animal Health Code (Section 9) and the Manual of diagnostic Tests and Vaccines for Terrestrial Animals (section 3.2)
OIE listed bee diseases for which outbreaks have been reported in Africa in recent times are Varroosis of honeybees (2014 – 2018) and Small hive beetle infestation (2018). American foulbrood of honey bees is reported by the Republic of South Africa since 2009.
The OIE has paid attention to this category of animals through training workshops on diseases of honeybees, e.g. in Africa in Eswatini (Swaziland) in 2011, after which honeybees were included as wildlife species in training courses for OIE Wildlife Focal Points, in Kasane, Botswana, in 2018.
Since May 2017, the International Centre of Insect Physiology and Ecology (icipe) in Kenya is recognised as an OIE Collaborating Centre for “Bee health in Africa”.
05/09/2018 Swaziland : Varroosis of honey bees (Varroa destructor)
14/08/2018 Swaziland : Small hive beetle infestation (Aethina tumida)
22/05/2017 Reunion (France) : Varroosis of honey bees
03/12/2014 Mauritius : Varroosis of honey bees