Feeds

Brit apiarists demand £8m to save honeybees

Gone within 10 years, without urgent research funding

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops

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. ®

Internet Security Threat Report 2014

More from The Register

next story
MEN: For pity's sake SLEEP with LOTS of WOMEN - and avoid Prostate Cancer
And, um, don't sleep with other men. If that's what worries you
Voyager 1 now EIGHTEEN LIGHT HOURS from home
Almost 20 BEEELION kilometres from Sol
HUGE SHARK as big as a WWII SUBMARINE died out, allowing whales to exist
Who'd win a fight: Megalodon or a German battleship?
Jim Beam me up, Scotty! WHISKY from SPAAACE returns to Earth
They're insured for $1m, before you thirsty folks make plans
ROGUE SAIL BOAT blocks SPACE STATION PODULE blastoff
Er, we think our ISS launch beats your fishing expedition
Comet Siding Spring revealed as flying molehill
Hiding from this space pimple isn't going to do humanity's reputation any good
BAE points electromagnetic projectile at US Army
Railguns for 'Future fighting vehicle'
OK Google, do I have CANCER?
Company talks up pill that would spot developing tumors
prev story

Whitepapers

Why cloud backup?
Combining the latest advancements in disk-based backup with secure, integrated, cloud technologies offer organizations fast and assured recovery of their critical enterprise data.
A strategic approach to identity relationship management
ForgeRock commissioned Forrester to evaluate companies’ IAM practices and requirements when it comes to customer-facing scenarios versus employee-facing ones.
Reg Reader Research: SaaS based Email and Office Productivity Tools
Read this Reg reader report which provides advice and guidance for SMBs towards the use of SaaS based email and Office productivity tools.
Top 5 reasons to deploy VMware with Tegile
Data demand and the rise of virtualization is challenging IT teams to deliver storage performance, scalability and capacity that can keep up, while maximizing efficiency.
Mitigating web security risk with SSL certificates
Web-based systems are essential tools for running business processes and delivering services to customers.