China’s Beekeepers Feel the Sting of COVID-19 Epidemic

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The novel coronavirus and the movement restrictions being enforced to contain it are bad news for bees.

The novel coronavirus that had killed over 2,100 people in China as of Thursday is also gradually claiming another victim: China’s beekeeping industry.

In a notice Feb. 15, the country’s top beekeeping body, the Apicultural Science Association of China, mourned the death of a beekeeper who reportedly killed himself after all of his bees died of starvation in the southern Yunnan province, as local travel restrictions had made it impossible to buy feed for the colony or relocate it to an area where they could feed naturally.

To control the spread of the coronavirus, regions across China have imposed strict restrictions on the movement of vehicles and people, including sealing off roads and implementing approval systems for interregional transportation. Some “hardcore” containment measures have also include shutting down public spaces and barring residents from leaving their homes, sometimes literally.

But the epidemic prevention measures have also stopped many beekeepers — including the late Liu Decheng — from moving their colonies to new nectar sources to keep them nourished, according to the apicultural association.

Read more : Sixth Tone

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