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gtb 

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(On-line here, and reproduced below)

Monday 9 March 2009 12:15
Department for Environment, Food And Rural Affairs (National)

Jane Kennedy launches plan to halt declining Bee numbers

Defra and the Welsh Assembly Government have today published 'Healthy Bees', a plan to protect and improve the health of honey bees in England and Wales.

The ten year plan was drafted in consultation with beekeeping organisations and aims to sustain honey bee populations by supporting beekeepers to ensure effective biosecurity measures are adopted to minimise risk from pests and disease.

This follows an investment of an extra ?4.3 million to gather more information from beekeepers and undertake more research into the health of bees, announced by Environment Secretary Hilary Benn in January. Of this, ?2 million over five years will contribute to a new research programme on pollinators, which is currently being developed with other funding partners.

The first stage of the plan will attempt to identify and make contact with perhaps as many as 20,000 amateur beekeepers to make sure that they are aware of the need to alert the National Bee Unit (NBU) to bee health problems and encourage them to register on BeeBase, its beekeepers database. This will help ensure that any new or existing health problems are identified.

The last two years have seen recorded losses of between 10 to 15 per cent in bee numbers although it is possible that real losses are significantly higher due to the number of beekeepers not in contact with the NBU.

Honey bees contribute directly to local food production and make an important contribution, through pollination, to improving the yield of some crops. They are susceptible to a variety of disease and environmental threats, some of which have increased significantly over the last five to 10 years.

Launching the plan today, Environment Minister Jane Kennedy said:

"Bees are just about the most hard working of insects. They help put food on our plates as they produce honey and pollinate other plants, many of which produce food themselves. We need to do all we can to safeguard the health of honey bees. This plan is a blueprint for doing that.

"The first step is to improve our contacts with all beekeepers so that we can ensure they take advantage of the free inspection and diagnostic services that the bee unit and its dedicated team of inspectors and scientists provide.

"That will help us pick up existing and emerging bee health problems and deal with them effectively."

The plan describes the five main things we want to achieve, working with individual beekeepers, their associations and other stakeholders. These are:

1. To keep pests, diseases and other hazards to the lowest levels achievable.

2. To promote good standards of husbandry to minimise pest and disease risks and contribute to sustaining honey bee populations - prevention is better than cure.

3. To encourage effective biosecurity to minimise risk from pests, diseases and undesirable species.

4. To ensure that sound science underpins bee health policy and its implementation.

5. To get everyone to work together on bee health.

The plan also identifies the distinct roles and responsibilities of Government, beekeepers, their associations and other stakeholders in achieving these aims. A strengthened partnership, involving all interested parties, is essential if current and evolving threats to bee health are to be successfully identified and addressed.

Action to implement the plan will now be taken forward in consultation with beekeepers' representatives.

NOTES FOR EDITORS

1. 'Healthy Bees' is available online at http://www.defra.gov.uk/hort/Bees/wnew.htm.

2. 'Healthy Bees' was launched after public consultation. Details of the consultation can be found: http://www.defra.gov.uk/corporate/consult/bee-health/index.htm

3. Defra recently announced new funding to help implement the plan. See the details: http://www.defra.gov.uk/news/2009/090121a.htm

4. The NBU maintains a voluntary database of active beekeepers called BeeBase. Beekeepers that are not registered with BeeBase are strongly encouraged to get in touch with the NBU online at https://secure.csl.gov.uk/beebase/ or on 01904 462510. Registration is free and provides the beekeeper with a free visit from their local bee inspector and access to a wide range of information on their craft.
 

Brosville 

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I find the statement worrying, to say the least - although on the face of it, it would appear to be admirable "lets all get together and sort out the problems.........", but reading between the lines, it would appear to be a thinly-disguised attempt to "register" all UK beekeepers, ostensibly for good and valid reasons, but the way a couple of those "points" are worded lead me to believe that they may be thinking compulsory medication - certainly it is worded in such a way to leave it wide-open for that to happen........ Hilary Benn is head honcho, would I trust him........?
I get the feeling that as usual with anything to do with Defra, they'll have had lots of consultations with the agrochemical lobby, both directly, and in the form of the British Beekillers Association, and clutter all with those who practice more natural forms of beekeeping..........
I'm not saying "no", I'm saying "it smells!"
 

admin 

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You should never trust a man with a name like Hilary.
 

Hivemaker. 

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Admin, take it you don't like Hilary.

Like this bit.
3. To encourage effective biosecurity to minimise risk from pests, diseases and undesirable species.


And yesterday on the news they said we could of got as many as three quarters of a million illegal immigrants in the uk,most of whome they don't know where they are, they could be bee smugglers.What a joke,and they think they are going to stop some little pest, like a small hive beetle riding in on a pot plant. Talking about pot,they don't seem to be able to control that comming in either,but i expect home grown is better.
 
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admin 

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That was very clever what you did there Hivemaker.:)
 

jimbeekeeper 

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What happens if you have an illegal imigrant who is a beekeeper who brought over their own queens, but is also a keen gardener of hydroponics?
 

hedgerow pete 

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never trust politician's when thier lips are moving , they are lying to you. as for the under hand bee registrar thats expected from labours nanny system, looks as if i will start digging my underground bee hives this weekend, then again knowing how stupid these people are they wont know what they are looking for anyway
 

admin 

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The goverment already have a database of over 10,000 beekepers registered with the BBKA,but what to do with the other 10,000 naughty boys and girls who are not registered ?

Maybe whip up a frenzy with the general public regards CCD/Veroa and rising fruit and veg prices due to lack of pollination,that should get the ill informed on the goverments side ready to push for compulsory registration.
 

Chris B 

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5. To get everyone to work together on bee health.
We need a song. "Save the bees" sung by "Bee Aid". Has anyone got Geldof's number?

I don't think it smells. Personally I don't care about compulsory registration. What is disappointing is the emphasis on telling us where we're all going wrong. There is a skills gap but it's a bit of a cop out to blame everything on beekeepers.
 

Finman 

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as for me i am one of the many unrecorded by the bbka, so iam still digging my under ground evil bee layer, just need to find an empty volcano in birmingham first
I looked from google and I found this one from Birmingham. Seems occupied.

 
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Polyanwood 

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I am not bothered about registration either. I guess I would be bothered about compulsory treatment though. Even if I accepted it, I know a lot of good beekeepers who would not. As long as thouse untreated hives are not too near mine, I think beekeepers should be free to choose.

The other thing that doesn't make sense is that if lots of honey bees were dying, then honey would become very scarce and therefore very expensive. That this is not happening is suspicious. Perhaps as Jim says, the government and the media, as we as a a body of beekeepers are getting wound up about nothing???
 
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The other thing that doesn't make sense is that if lots of honey bees were dying, then honey would become very scarce and therefore very expensive. That this is not happening is suspicious.
I think that may be due to the amount of uk honey sold per year that is not what it say's on the jar.
 

Hivemaker. 

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Admin, what do you mean, like it could be south African, or something like that.
 

Chris B 

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Admin, what do you mean, like it could be south African, or something like that.
There are beekeepers who will buy bulk honey and bottle it if they don't produce enough themselves. I'm sure most will label it perfectly legally, but the fact they are selling it at a farmers market or to local shops leads people to assume it's local honey. (If the label says produce of E.U. 99.9% sure it's imported).
 

jimbeekeeper 

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There is a skills gap but it's a bit of a cop out to blame everything on beekeepers.
I do beekeeping for a hobby, not to save the world! Despite this I am doing quite at good job at helping save the world (bees)

If bees are that important it should not be left to and equaly the blame for all this put at the feet of "hobby" beekeepers.

Where are the goverment run bee farms?
 

Hivemaker. 

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Thanks Chris. not much use to me then,my labels say (pure Exmoor),kind of limited area.
 

Oaktreepotter 

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never trust politician's when thier lips are moving , they are lying to you.
The only exception I would suggest is Vince Cable who IS a beekeeper and President of the Twickenham branch, I believe? Rugby AND bees, now that's a great combination! - unless you support Wasps!

Chris
 

artibaton 

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and Vince Cable warned about the economy spinning out of control several years ago. would that be the libdems becoming almost electable......?
 

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