Feeds

Brit apiarists demand £8m to save honeybees

Gone within 10 years, without urgent research funding

Build a business case: developing custom apps

British apiarists are demanding the government stump £8m for a research project aimed at saving the nation's honeybees from extinction - something they say will happen within 10 years if cash is not found to investigate "new treatments and drugs" for ailing populations.

Tim Lovett, president of the British Beekeeping Association, explained: "Beekeeping is still reeling from the varroa mite, which carries a number of viruses and which devastated thousands of hives across the country when it reached Britain 10 years ago. Now there is a real danger that colony collapse disease - which has wiped out 80 per cent of bees in parts of the US - will appear in this country. Unless we develop effective protection, there could then be massive losses of bees across the country."

Colony collapse disease, aka Colony Collapse Disorder (CCD), has manifested itself Stateside as colonies' older bees died, "leaving behind the queen and young workers not yet ready to forage for pollen and nectar and insufficient in number to maintain the colony".

The cause is unknown, and various theories point to harmful pesticides, increased solar radiation, falling queen fertility, unauthorised bee treatments, mobile phone mast radiation or the the single-celled fungus Nosema ceranae.

Whatever the cause, the implications of CCD are serious. Honeybees "pollinate ingredients in about a third of the food consumed in the US", prompting ice cream manufacturer Häagen-Dazs to cough up a $250,000 research grant to university researchers in California and Pennsylvania to probe the problem.

British ministers, however, have insisted they have no cash to fund a British bee-saving programme. According to the Guardian, there are roughly 250,000 honeybee hives in the UK and "a recent estimate by the Department for Farming, Environment and Rural Affairs revealed that bees contribute £165m a year to the economy through their pollination of fruit trees, field beans, and other crops".

Although the farming minister, Lord Rooker, admitted to the House of Lords that without action "the honeybee population could be wiped out in 10 years", Lovett said the minister had written to the British Beekeeping Association "saying there was no money available for a research programme".

Lovett said: "The pollinating of farmers' crops carried out by our bees is provided free of charge. Over five years that work raises £800m for the nation. We are asking for an £8m research programme to save our bees to run for five years. That is one per cent of the money our bees generate."

The British Beekeeping Association now plans to lobby MPs, start a letter-writing campaign, and take its concerns directly to the House of Commons with a protest meeting. ®

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops

More from The Register

next story
Boffins attempt to prove the UNIVERSE IS JUST A HOLOGRAM
Is this the real life? Is this just fantasy?
Our LOHAN spaceplane ballocket Kickstarter climbs through £8000
Through 25 per cent but more is needed: Get your UNIQUE rewards!
China building SUPERSONIC SUBMARINE that travels in a BUBBLE
Shanghai to San Fran in two hours would be a trick, though
LOHAN tunes into ultra long range radio
And verily, Vultures shall speak status unto distant receivers
SpaceX prototype rocket EXPLODES over Texas. 'Tricky' biz, says Elon Musk
No injuries or near injuries. Flight stayed in designated area
Galileo, Galileo! Galileo, Galileo! Galileo fit to go. Magnifico
I'm just a poor boy, nobody loves me. But at least I can find my way with ESA GPS by 2017
EOS, Lockheed to track space junk from Oz
WA facility gets laser-eyes out of the fog
prev story

Whitepapers

Top 10 endpoint backup mistakes
Avoid the ten endpoint backup mistakes to ensure that your critical corporate data is protected and end user productivity is improved.
Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Backing up distributed data
Eliminating the redundant use of bandwidth and storage capacity and application consolidation in the modern data center.
The essential guide to IT transformation
ServiceNow discusses three IT transformations that can help CIOs automate IT services to transform IT and the enterprise
Next gen security for virtualised datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.