Monday 7th June, 2010

Urban Beekeepers Save Honey

Urban bee. Image Courtesy:Larry Page,Flickr

The decline of the honeybee is a major concern in Britain - the population has halved in just two decades.

Research has shown that reduced plant diversity disrupts the ecosystem and causes bees to die out. Bee pollination assists the growth of millions of fruits and crops annually, which keeps the economy and food market in circulation. Researchers are also worried for the UK’s £200m honeybee pollination business.
In a recent effort to maintain bee colonies, rural beekeepers have recruited urban beekeepers for the honeybees’ survival.

Loss of bees highest in north

According to the British Association of Beekeepers, the UK faced a 17.3 per cent loss of bees from November 2009 to March 2010, with the largest amount of bees lost in the north of England.

Experts are searching for locations across UK cities to create new beehives to rebuild the population. So far, urban beekeepers have increased the UK bee population with a success rate of 60 per cent, which is expected to increase gradually.

Moreover, scientists have come up with an international network to check the declining rate of honeybees around the world.

Even though last winter was one of the harshest in UK history, 80 per cent of honeybees in the country managed to survive and the number of hives has risen from 40,000 to 80,000.

Martin Smith, president of The British Beekeepers Association, said: “It shows that our honeybees are slowly moving out of intensive care but they are still not healthy enough.”

DEFRA funds bee research

The Department for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) has contributed £2.5m for honeybees and £10m for the research on pollinators.

Smith added: “It is not just beekeepers who can help bees to recover, everyone can play their part by continuing to plant bee friendly plants, fruit and vegetables in their window boxes, patio pots, gardens and allotments to provide desperately needed forage."



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