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Posted: 28 July 2015 by Anne Ashford

Honeybees need all the help they can get!

They are the Davids of the age reeling from the multiple blows of the Goliaths which stride the earth.

The stats…

  • Honeybee numbers* in the UK have fallen by up to 30 per cent in recent years, with worldwide bee populations in similar decline. [Findings from The Co-Operative’s Plan Bee*]
  • The British Beekeepers Association says an average of 14.5 colonies in every 100 perished between October 2014 and March this year — normal winter losses are between 5 and 10 per cent. [Last year the figure was 9.6 colonies per 100 perished].

What are the causes?
The simple answer is a loss of habitat and rising pollution. But there’s also the pestilence of bee parasite the varroa mite which weakens the insect leaving it more vulnerable to disease and early death.

Not to mention the problems associated with the weather…last year was a good one with honey crops returning to near average levels; this year looks at lot less promising with many colonies queenless which will ultimately destroy them unless a beekeeper intervenes.

Why bother?
Any species deserves to be conserved for its own sake, but in the case of honey bees, there are many self-interested reasons for us to take their plight seriously, principally the impact on crop pollination of a crash in their population.

As a hobby beekeeper I am at a very small length of the front-line fighting for the interests of my hives against assaults from seemingly all directions. To better arm myself I’ve been trained by my local beekeeping group – Taunton Beekeepers – and now edit our aptly named newsletter Taunton Buzz.
If you’re wondering about the beautiful design, that’s down to Josh Beadon of Toucan, creative design and digital agency.