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Farron proposes incubator solution to decline in bee population

February 11, 2009 9:24 AM

Liberal Democrat Shadow Secretary of State for Defra Tim Farron MP has proposed using the Isle of Man as an incubator to deal with the dramatic decline in population of the British honeybee.

Last year, a UK inspector certified the Isle of Man as disease free having checked twenty plus hives and finding no sign of the varroa destructor mite which had led to a 30% reduction in the population of the British honeybee since the winter of 2007.

Mr Farron has called for the Government to conduct an immediate feasibility study into the practicalities of using the island as an incubator to allow healthy bee hives to be brought back to the UK to repopulate.

Commenting Mr Farron said:

"The situation of the British honeybee is now getting ever more desperate. It's important that in order to give the Government time to conduct their research into bee health that we come up with solutions to reduce the losses in bee numbers in the short term.

"Using the Isle of Man as an incubator to bring healthy bees back in to re populate the UK will go some way to replenishing the huge loss in numbers which the honeybee has experienced in recent years.

"This proposal will also help stop the spread of pests and diseases brought by increased international trade in honeybees, as some farmers seek to replenish depleted bee reserves by importing honeybees from abroad.

"Allowing the UK bee population to regenerate itself will also reduce the potential threat of 'grey-squirrel effect' currently being experienced in Japan, in which native species are driven out by more aggressive foreigners.

"The Government pleased us all last month by increasing their budget for bee health research. I am hopeful that designating the Isle of Man as an incubator for healthy bee hives will bring some much needed breathing space which will allow that money to be turned into results."