Friday, 9 May 2008

To Bee or Not To Bee?


The British Beekeeper's Association has reported that around 20% of Honey bee colonies in the UK are thought to have died off in winter 2007-2008(http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/2008/may/09/wildlife.endangeredspecies). This seems part of a continuing trend that has seen colony losses doubling in this country over the last 4 years. Colony losses are also big news on the Continent and especially in the USA where more than 35% of all colonies died last year. Losses of substantial numbers of these 'expert pollinators' is a real problem, particularly in relation to fruit production. The precise causes of the declines seem clouded in mystery and are often somewhat vaguely and collectively described as 'colony collapse disorder'. Contributing factors may include the Varroa mite, fungal infestations, bad weather (making efficient food collection difficult) and 'stress' (also a bit vague). One cannot rule out possible effects of sprays and other agents. This disappearing act is certainly an area to keep an eye on, especially with honey rocketing in price.

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