Monday, November 3, 2008

Bees face extinction

I cannot find a link to this article online so I have typed it out. - Margaret
Sunday Telegraph 2.11.2008
Bees face extinction without research cash, warn keepers
Patrick Sawer

THE NUMBER of honey bees wiped out by diseases that threaten their survival as a species reached almost two billion in the past year, according to experts.

They accused the government of failing to invest in the research needed to stem disease and parasites believed to have destroyed one in three bee colonies in the past year.

The beekeeper's Association [BBKA} has calculated that up to two billion bees have succumbed to sickness between November 2007 and April 2008 with a similar number expected to be killed by the end of this winter.

The association wants ministers to increase the £2000,000 currently spent on research into the bee health to £8 million over the next five years. It said that, unless the money is spent , a cure will never be found, leading to the extinction of Britain's bees.
Tim Lovett, president of the association said: "bees pollinate one third of all we eat. They provide more than 50 percent of pollination of wild plants on which birds and mammals depend. We must identify what is killing them, and that means research.

"The increased funding we are asking for is a drop in the ocean compared with the billions the Government has found for bank bailouts."

Beekeepers will bring their pleas to Gordon brown's doorstep on Wednesday, when they deliver a petition of 130,000 names to Downing Street, calling fro immediate Government action.

The BBKA carried out a nationwide survey of how many of Britain's 274,000 bee colonies, each with 20,000 bees, failed to survive last winter. It found that one in three had failed to make it through to the spring., with the loss of at least 1.8 billion bees.

The losses have been blamed on a phenomenon known as colony collapse disorder which has also affected bee populations in America and Europe, along with a resistant form of the parasitic Varoa mite.

The Department fro Environment , Food and Rural Affairs said that it was developing a bee-health strategy to tackle threats such as Varoa, but "demands for substantially increased funding in the current financial climate are unrealistic".