Dramatic Decline In Bees Across Cambridgeshire

PUBLISHED: 16:55 16 March 2009 | UPDATED: 10:46 04 May 2010

Bob Lemon

Bob Lemon

BEEKEEPERS across Cambridgeshire have seen a dramatic decline in their bee populations because of a deadly mite which is threatening to wipe the species out. The varroa mite, a microscope pest which literally sucks the life from its host, has already caus

BEEKEEPERS across Cambridgeshire have seen a dramatic decline in their bee populations because of a deadly mite which is threatening to wipe the species out.

The varroa mite, a microscope pest which literally sucks the life from its host, has already caused bee numbers to plummet across the UK and some keepers in Cambridgeshire have reported the lost of whole colonies.

Scientists are struggling to find ways to halt the rapid decline and even the European Union has held emergency meetings to try and find out more about the potentially disastrous decline.

Dr Ivor Davis, former president of the British Beekeepers Association, said:

"We are trying to provide help and education for all of our beekeepers to help them manage their losses as there has been a significant drop in colony numbers this winter.

"Although it's not quite true to say that if bees die out humans will follow within four years, it is certainly true that if all bees die than within a few years humans will be left eating just bread and gruel."

Dr Davis' sentiments were echoed by chairman of the Cambs Beekeepers Association (CBA) Doug Brown, he said: "What has also contributed to the loss of bees is the fact that the varroa mite has become resistant to traditional treatments and our new natural treatments just aren't as effective."

Not just a producer of honey, the bee is responsible for pollinating a huge variety of plants and crops and its extinction would have a series impact on food supplies for people worldwide.

Sutton beekeeper Philip Read, said: "We have certainly lost a lot of bees this year, normally you would expect to lose two or three hives but we have lost 19 or 20 this year."

At their annual peek the average bee hive can contain between 30-50'000 bees and a reported 30 per cent drop in bee populations nationwide has seen a huge hole left in the numbers of the insect.

Littleport resident Bob Lemon who has been keeping bees for more than 50 years,

said: "It is horrifying think that the decline in the numbers of bees could have such a wide ranging effect on the environment.

"I've been selling honey for a number of years now and for the first time ever I'm having to tell people who phone me up asking me for honey that I simply don't have enough."

8278HD0309. Beekeeper Bob Lemon who has been making honey for over 50 years.

Photo: HELEN DRAKE

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