A recent threat to beekeeping in the UK and Ireland has had numerous people sign a multitude of different petitions to ban imports of bees from Italy. These petitions were to go to MPs to be brought to the table for discussion, but now parliament has been dissolved us beekeepers are left in limbo waiting for the small hive beetle to appear.
It is the worst of times but also it could be the best of times… here we have an opportunity to vote for those MPs willing to fight for the bees, to promote conservation of native species and to stop the introduction of invasive non-natives like Aethina Tumida (Small hive beetle).
“The total annual cost of invasive non-native species to the British economy is estimated at approximately £1.7 billion. This is said to be a conservative figure and does not include indirect costs which could be substantially higher”
Japanese knotweed alone is said to cost the British economy an estimated £166 million per year! And with bees pollination over 70 crops the threat of the Small hive beetle is fairly serious. Stringent guidelines must be laid down for any bees being imported into the UK and Ireland, not just from Italy, as any new disease or parasite could be riding in unchallenged to cause major problems for beekeepers here.
Hopefully we can get some responses from the different political parties as to where they stand on this issue and how they propose we protect our bee populations from threat of pest and disease.