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Decline in Bee Population Means No More Honey for Christmas

November 19, 2008 11:41 AM
Tim with members of the British Bee Keeping Association

Tim Farron is highlighting the threat to the UK bee population.

Shadow Secretary of State for DEFRA Tim Farron MP has called on the Government to change its attitudes towards bee health after it was revealed that British honey supplies could dry up before Christmas.

Domestic honey supplies have all but vanished after over 25% of domestic bees were killed by diseases such as the Varroa destructor mite following two terrible summers for British bee keepers. Yet despite the bee industry contributing over £165million per year through cross pollination to the domestic agricultural output, the UK Government have refused to license alternative treatments used widely throughout the European Union.

Speaking before tonight's debate in the European Parliament on bee health, Tim has called for the UK Government to work together with the EU to stop the huge decline in bee population.

Commenting Tim said:

"It is vital that both the UK Government and the European Commission puts more money towards assessing the damage being caused by the diseases such as the Varroa mite and create solutions that can reverse the falling hive numbers In the UK.

"As we stand the Government have licensed just three treatments for the Varroa mite, one of which is now facing resistance and another which is completely ineffective in parts of Northern England and Scotland due to the low seasonal temperatures.

"There are other treatments available from across the EU which the Government should at least consider licensing as an alternative.

The Government needs to change its attitude towards bee health. They should start by considering licensing alternative treatments which are available across the UK. Increasing the funding made available for research and improving the co-ordination and the sharing of best practice between the different Member States will go along way to stopping the staggering number of bee colonies dying across the country."