Ireland's multimillion euro apple industry, North and South is under threat from a decline in bee numbers a conference in Belfast has heard.
Many agricultural economies including the apple sector are dependent on bee pollination with bees responsible for pollinating every fourth bite of food eaten.
Dr Robert Paxton from Queens University has warned that roughly a third of Ireland's one hundred bee species are in serious decline.
"Exotic so called emergent diseases are playing havoc with honey bees throughout the world," Dr. Paxton said.
"The island of Ireland has 100 species of bee, roughly a third of which are in serious decline.
"Northern Ireland's apple industry is worth millions each year, mainly generated through exports. Without bee pollination it would be worth nothing," he said.