Icelandic Bees on 'Road to Recovery' Skip to content

Icelandic Bees on ‘Road to Recovery’

By Larissa Kyzer

The bee population in Iceland is “on the road to recovery” in Iceland, says Erling Ólafsson, an entomologist at the Icelandic Institute of Natural History (IINH). Per a post on the Heimur smádýranna (‘Critters’ World’) Facebook page Erling manages, this resurgence is actually thanks to the COVID-19 pandemic. “Sometimes, a terrible thing can also have positive effects.”

“As many people know, bees all over the world have been struggling in recent years,” he wrote. “It’s been a terrible situation and we’ve sought explanations for it everywhere.”

Erling referenced a recent AFP video segment on beekeeping in Albania, which noted that “Albanian bees are thriving in the coronavirus pandemic. The lack of industrial activity, noise, and pesticides have allowed the insects to thrive.”

“It’s an excellent year with this quiet spring,” beekeeper Gezim Skermo told AFP. “Without pesticides, which kill bees, leaving them dead in front of the hives. It’s been a perfect year, without pollution, the air is pure and cleaner than I’ve ever seen in 50 years in this profession.”

“In the two or three months of this pandemic that has brought entire countries to their knees, the only winner of this war is the bee that has worked and continues to work,” added beekeeper Eugen Skermo. “It is the bee that has won.”

Erling took the AFP piece as an opportunity to urge Icelandic gardeners to capitalize on this moment and allow the local bee population to further recover by avoiding the use of pesticides.

“I’m sure that garden owners are starting to think about spraying their plants to protect their gardens from so-called pests,” he wrote. “Over-eagerness has often dictated [such choices] more than foresight. You hear talk that there’s a pesticide on offer for this or that [creature], for instance worms, aphids, spiders. But keep in mind that no pesticide isolates like that. Pesticide will always be universal—it kills everything that encounters it and destroys the normal cycle of a garden’s ecosystem. Spraying your garden with pesticides should not be a given,” Erling concluded.



Sign up for our weekly newsletter

Get news from Iceland, photos, and in-depth stories delivered to your inbox every week!

* indicates required

Subscribe to Iceland Review

In-depth stories and high-quality photography showcasing life in Iceland!