Beekeeping in greece problems and proposals
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Beekeeping in Greece: problems and proposals. Vasilis Ntouras , President Federation of Greek Beekeepers Associations OMSE. My job and my co-workers in the field. In OMSE’s office. With and. Greek beekeeping in numbers. 1.500.000 bee colonies 17.000 beekeepers

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Beekeeping in Greece: problems and proposals

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Beekeeping in greece problems and proposals

Beekeeping in Greece: problems and proposals

Vasilis Ntouras, President

Federation of Greek Beekeepers Associations OMSE


My job and my co workers in the field

My job and my co-workers in the field


In omse s office

In OMSE’s office


With and

With and


Greek beekeeping in numbers

Greek beekeeping in numbers

  • 1.500.000 bee colonies

  • 17.000 beekeepers

  • 6000 professionals (>150 colonies)

  • ~20.000 tons of honey/year

  • ~15 kgr/colony /year

  • 12 colonies/km2

  • 4 transportationsper year on average


Beekeeping in greece problems and proposals

Honey production cost is high

Honey yield per colony and year is low

Yet, the quality of Greek Honey is unique


Beekeeping in greece has certain very specific characteristics

Beekeeping in Greece has certain very specific characteristics

  • Mountainous land

  • Hot-dry climate

  • Farming area is ~ 28% of the land

  • GMO free

  • High biodiversity

    ~6500 plant taxa

  • Colonies have to be moved a lot (transhumance)

  • Low production per hive

    15 kgr of honey/colony/year


Greece usually has a very small percentage of bee losses 10

Greece-usually!-has a very small percentage of bee losses (~10%)

Three reasons:

  • Small fraction of bee foraging in crops/foraging in natural ecosystems (small exposure to pesticides)

  • Rich biodiversityand a long productive period (winters are short)

  • The Greek beekeeper’s mentality: lost colonies must be replaced ASAP


Causes of bee losses in greece

Causes of bee losses in Greece

  • Climate change – extreme weatherphenomena become frequent(scorchers, drought, floods, strong winds)

  • Loss of bee foraging habitat

    (forest fires, over-grazing, tourism,urbanization)

  • Pesticidesandparticularlyneonicotinoids


Beekeeping in greece problems and proposals

Bees that fed on crops where neonicotinoids were used,exhibit some 35-50% losses

in the following 8-month period.

Colony defensecollapsesand it becomes vulnerable to several pathogens, the way an AIDS patient is…


Cotton honey a great paradigm

Cotton honey:a great paradigm

  • Before neonicotinoids, which are systemic,sprayings in cottonkilled a lot of forager bees

  • Still the outcomewas a positive oneas the colony managed to gather about 30 kgrof honeyand replace the foragers lost

  • Nowadays, after the massive lossesthe beekeepers have suffered from 2005 and on, the 3000 tonsof cotton honeyare history…

  • By the way, cotton honey is a very tasty flower honey with great antibacterial and antioxidant properties!


Beekeeping in greece problems and proposals

In 2011 and 2012 more than 10.000 coloniesdied offin Atticaand some islands,because of sprayings on palm trees with neonicotinoid insecticides approved for red beatle control


The beekeeper replaces the bee colonies he has lost

The beekeeperreplacesthe bee colonies he has lost

Bee colony loss is translated into livestock loss

and honey production lossand consequently

income loss for the beekeeper.

How longcan beekeepers stay in businessmaking up for the damage on their own?


What is omse doing

What is OMSE doing ?

How can we achieve a pollinator friendly agricultural model?


Political pressure through wide political and social alliances

Political pressure throughwidepoliticaland socialalliances

  • Greek Mps και MEPs

  • Greenpeace

  • Scientists –Scientific organisations

  • Consumer organisations

  • Farmers unions –Organic Farmers unions

  • NGOs

  • Internet Campaigning Communities (avaaz, changeetc)

  • Coordination with Europe’s beekeepers (EPBA, CoEur)


Action for co existence

Action for co-existence

In 2012-2013 we organised 3 events in 3 cities(Chania, Nafplionand Arta)to bring beekeepers and orange growerstogether


What the greek beekeepers ask

What the Greek beekeepers ask:

Legal supportin EU level for

  • Protection from pesticides

  • Protection from GMOs

  • Clear distinctions between locally produced beekeeping products from imported ones posing as local


We propose

We propose:

The 'bee-friendly' label should be included in the EU legislation on agricultural product quality as a quality term


We propose1

We propose:

Direct aid to beekeepers from the 2nd pillar of the CAP for their contribution to food production, to the environment and biodiversity

     In countries like Greece where bees provide pollination, for the most part, to non-cultivated plants and beekeepers pay additional costs for moving the bees (transhumance) we request from the Community

to include in the new CAP a “pollinationsubsidy”


We propose2

We propose:

The 3 –year apiculture programmes (Regulation EC 1234/07) should run on

a 7-year basis in harmony with the CAP


Our thanks

Our thanks

To the GreenMEP’sfor all their efforts to support the bees and European beekeeping!


Beekeeping in greece problems and proposals

Thank you

for listening!


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