Joined: Fri Nov 18, 2005 2:26 pm
5th November call for action from beekeepers
NEARLY 2 BILLION BEES GO MISSING COSTING THE ECONOMY £54 MILLION
Hundreds of beekeepers march to Downing Street on 5 November calling for government action now
Billions of the UK’s bees are dying from unknown causes and the public is demanding to know why.**
One in three of honey bee colonies were lost over the last year. It is feared there is nothing to prevent a repeated loss of two billion bees this winter, leading to another spring in which there will be a reduction in these vital pollinators.
Hundreds of members of the British Beekeepers Association (BBKA) from all over the UK will march down Whitehall to deliver a petition to 10 Downing Street signed by more than 140,000 members of the public calling for immediate government action.
The petition calls on the government to increase the paltry £200,000 annually currently spent on bee health research to £1.6 million annually for the next 5 years. This is less than 1% of the £825 million added value provided to the agriculture economy by pollination by bees over the same period.
Tim Lovett, President of the BBKA, said: ““The increased funding we are asking for is a drop in the ocean compared to the billions of pounds the government has found for bank bail-outs.
“Bees are probably one of the most economically useful creatures on earth, pollinating a third of all we eat. They provide more than 50% of pollination of wild plants on which birds and mammals depend. We must identify what is killing them, and that means research.”
Dr Dewey Caron, Professor of Entomology at the University of Delaware speaking recently at The National Honey Show in Surrey stated that worldwide calamity of disappearing bees is seen by scientists as ‘the canaries in the cage’ , sending out warning signals about the health of the environment.
MEPs on the European Parliament’s agriculture committee too have called on the Commission to introduce ‘bee friendly’ measures in the ongoing reform of the Common Agricultural Policy,
as bee health is an issue across the whole of the EU. And the health of the US bees will be one of the problems in the new US President’s in-tray.
NFU Vice President Paul Temple said: “Honey bees are an underpinning component of the British countryside - whether it’s heather moorland, a hedgerow, an orchard or a field of beans.
“Our bee farmers and beekeepers are the custodians of every single honey bee in our countryside, and they are facing devastating bee health problems. To solve these problems we need comprehensive and coordinated research to be undertaken urgently. And one thing is clear, current levels of Government funding are nowhere near enough to support such research.”
Mr Lovett continued: “Without beekeepers to look after them there would be no honey bees in the UK. Despite the best efforts of our members, bees are suffering as the varroa mites who weaken colonies and spread viruses are becoming resistant to treatments to protect them, making them more vulnerable to disease. This is all on top of the bad weather, especially the wet summers, over which we have no control. There is currently no ‘ magic bullet’ for controlling varroa.”
Rowse Honey, the UK leading honey company, has announced that English beekeepers’ honey will run out in the supermarkets by Christmas and has committed £100,000 to support research into bee health at Sussex University. Other industry groups are expected to help but this does not relieve the Government of its responsibility to provide funding.
The BBKA is encouraged by the interest shown in research funding opportunities by the Wellcome Trust and the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council.
Joined: Fri Nov 18, 2005 2:26 pm
Yes - and this phenomenon has been fairly widely reported from USA too, where the massive loss of bees there has also caused great concern.
I personally am I great believer in the huge threat that mankind has created in climate change - there is no longer any doubt we are adversely effecting our climate and ecological system - and no-one fully knows what effects we will see.
Things like the bees going missing needs much greater attention and research by this government if they are serious in trying to understand and reverse climate change.