Analysis of Bee Population Decline in Lombardy during the Period 2014-2016 and Identification of High-Risk Areas

Pathogens. 2021 Aug 9;10(8):1004. doi: 10.3390/pathogens10081004.


The first events of bee decline in Italy were reported during 1999. Since then, population decline has frequently been reported in Lombardy. In this study, the association between bee decline and the type of land surrounding the apiary was evaluated. A risk map was developed to identify areas with the highest risk of decline. Apiaries in Lombardy were selected from the national beekeeping database (BDA). The study period was from 2014 to 2016. Apiaries were deemed "declined" if they reported at least one event of decline or tested positive for plant protection products; apiaries were "not declined" if they did not report any events of bee decline during the study period. Out of 14,188 apiaries extracted from the BDA, 80 were considered declined. The probability of an apiary being declined increases by 10% in orchards and by 2% in arable land for each additional km2 of land occupied by these crops. The study showed an association between bee decline and the type of territory surrounding the apiaries, and the areas at the greatest risk of decline in Lombardy were identified. This information can be used by Veterinary Services as a predictive parameter for planning prevention and control activities.

Keywords: GIS; bees; plant protection; population decline; risk; soil.