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Bees in a buzz as colony numbers bounce back22 November 2010
The bee crisis which has seen colonies collapse across Europe and America may be starting to ease. Figures unveiled by the British Bee Keepers’ Association (BBKA) show huge growth in bee colonies over the summer – and a bumper harvest of honey for bee-keepers. BBKA president Martin Smith said: “We estimate that bee-keepers have increased the number of their bee colonies by 50 per cent – up to 120,000 from 80,000 in March. “This summer, 44 per cent of bee-keepers kept one or two hives, which reflects a 40 per cent increase in the number of people taking up bee-keeping.
“With 5,000 ‘armchair’ bee-keepers through our Adopt A Hive scheme, public support is making a difference, too,” Martin added. Healthy bee populations are crucial to gardeners to ensure pollination of flowers and vegetable plants. They’re essential to farmers, too, and scientists have predicted future food shortages if honey bee numbers continued to decline. Gardeners have been turning to bee-keeping after reports that 50 per cent bee colonies died out in Europe and America in recent winters. Despite the Government pledging £10million to research bee losses, no-one knows the cause. The parasitic varroa mite, use of pesticides and habitat loss are often blamed.