Beekeepers March on Whitehall

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Wallingford is not only where our community of bloggers resides, but it is also home to Rowse Honey, the ‘UK’s leading honey company’. For honey-lovers everywhere, attention will have been drawn to
a BBC news bulletin yesterday announcing that English honey supplies could run
out by Christmas (BBC, 2008).

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In fact, honey is not the only product to suffer
from honeybee declines, because honeybees pollinate 90 crops worldwide,
including UK crops of apples, blackberries, broccoli, carrots, onions, peaches, pears and strawberries (Rowse News, July 2008).

My blog back in September, ‘Pollinator Presence Plummets’,
is just one of many documents highlighting the plight of pollinators. Bee
colonies have shown a dramatic decline worldwide and Rowse News documents that UK beekeepers’
reported average losses of 25% last winter, an increase of 7% compared
with the previous year. The increase in cost of honey, is attributed to a worldwide shortage.
Rowse announced that they are having to pay 60% more than a year ago to secure honey
supplies for blending honeys (Rowse News, July 2008).

Over the next 3 years, and following a meeting between the
British Beekeepers’ Association (BBKA), Bee Farmers’ Association (BFA) and the National Farmers’ Union
(NFU), Rowse Honey is committed to investing £100,000 in honeybee health
research (Rowse News, September 2008), which will be carried out by scientists at Sussex University (BBC, 2008).
Professor Francis Ratnieks, the only professor of apiculture in the UK, together with Norman Carrick, one of the UK’s leading
bee researchers, will head a project to attempt the breeding of hygienic bees
that are more resistant to diseases (BBC, 2008). A number of Ratnieks’ previous publications can be
found on CAB Abstracts.

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In
an attempt to secure more money for research, a group of beekeepers from across
the country, armed with bee smokers, will be marching on Whitehall on Wednesday 5 November. They are
calling for the Government to invest £1.6 million per year to research
solutions for the bee crisis (Anon., 2008; BBC, 2008).

References

Anon. (2008) Beekeeper’s Downing St. protest over the death of honey bees; more research urgently needed. http://environmentdebate.wordpress.com/2008/11/02/beekeepers-protest-lack-of-research-monies-into/

BBC (2008) Attempt to save bees from disease. http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/england/oxfordshire/7707784.stm

Rowse News (July 2008) The World Honey Bee Crisis. http://www.rowsehoney.co.uk/articles/news/rowse-news#bee-health-meeting 

Rowse News (September 2008) Rowse Honey commits £100,000 to bee health research campaign. http://www.rowsehoney.co.uk/articles/news/rowse-news#bee-health-meeting

One thought on “Beekeepers March on Whitehall

  1. Rebecca Murphy November 5, 2008 / 9:38 am

    There’s an analysis of the predicted effects of loss of pollinators on world agriculture in Ecological Economics:
    Gallai, N., Salles, J.-M., Settele, J. and Vaissière, B.E. (2008) Economic valuation of the vulnerability of world agriculture confronted with pollinator decline. Ecological Economics, online 3 August 2008; doi:10.1016/j.ecolecon.2008.06.014

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