Friday, 3 April 2009

Save the honey bee

Last night I attended the West Fife Beekeepers Association to discuss the plight of the honey bee which has seen a dramatic decline. Since the winter of 2007 there has been a 30% reduction in the population of domestic honey bees due to the varroa destructor mite.

Scottish bee farmers run up to a quarter of the UK’s commercial bee hives and also make up a significant portion of the UK’s amateur beekeeping population. Yet despite their importance, Scotland only has four bee inspectors to investigate cases of disease outbreak.

The Western honey bee plays a vital role within the planet's eco-system, pollinating 70% of the food that we eat and contributing over £165 million per year to agricultural output. Put simply, fewer bees will mean less pollination, a decline in plant life and a huge blow to animal life.

I am pressing the Scottish and UK Governments to work together to tackle this problem. I also want to see a significant increase in funding to research new treatments and see more people qualified to treat bees.

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