YORKSHIRE bee-keepers, whose hives produce some of the most sought after heather honey in the UK, are seething at a decision by the Government to slash the number of professional hive inspectors.
Bees are notoriously susceptible to disease and parasites and, unless symptoms are spotted in the early stages, whole hives can be wiped out. So, until now, there has been a group of highly-experienced travelling inspectors who can spot the telltale signs and help save whole colonies.
Now, however, civil servants have decided that the bee-keepers themselves should be responsible spotting danger signs and applying treatment, a move that has angered many honey producers.
Yorkshire heather honey can demand premium prices and is a popular small gift taken home by holiday-makers. When the heather is in bloom, apiarists - bee-keepers - transport their hives from place to place so that their bees can gather a bumper crop.