Large areas of central and southern Russia have seen a major decline in their bee populations in recent months.
The head of the Russian beekeepers’ union, Arnold Butov, said 20 regions had reported mass bee deaths.
Butov, quoted by Russian media, said the crisis might mean 20% less honey being harvested. Some officials blamed poorly regulated pesticide use.
Declining bee populations have caused widespread alarm in Europe, with experts blaming the crisis on a combination of factors: climate change, pesticides – notably neonicotinoids – and varroa mites spreading in beehives.