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Keeping the honey bees buzzing

[Thursday 7 October 2010]

A task force of experienced bee-keepers is to be created to help hundreds of amateurs who have taken up the hobby to keep their hives safe over winter, the environment department Defra announced today (Oct 7).

English bees have been under attack for some years from a blood-sucking mite called varroa, a matter of particular concern here in the Yorkshire Dales and on the North York Moors, where heather honey is a premium crop.

There are also fears that another killer disease called sudden colony death which is sweeping the USA may also arrive in Britain, which has caused Defra to enlist the help of 400 members of the British Bee Keeping Association to give advice and help to new members flooding into the trade.

Winter has always been a danger time for bees, which hibernate. Not only do they suffer from cold and damp if their hives are not properly prepared but they can also come under attack from mice and even woodpeckers.

Says Environment Minister Lord Henley: “Bees are essential to putting food on our table and worth £200m to Britain every year through pollinating our crops. This training will help the many new beekeepers keep their hives healthy and bees buzzing.”

Leeds beekeeper Bill Cadmore has been appointed by the BBKA as their national organiser for the education project. His role will be to develop and organise events for training experiences keepers on how to pass on their skills as tutors.

Feedback received on this subject:

I'm glad that Defra are doing this as there are many more new beekeepers than there used to be and the more help from properly experienced beekeepers newbies can get, the better.

Is this project intended to support the existing work by local beekeeping associations?

Many local beekeeping associations run meetings for new people to ask questions, courses and mentoring schemes.

Leanne London

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