28 April 1998
New Topic — Land of milk and honey?

HOW many farmers are there out there involved commerically, or semi-comercially, in the production of honey ?

Fewer and fewer as each month passes, because of the virulent varroa mite attacking beehives in Britain, destroying colony after colony of bees all over the country. This is a crisis!

Just recently, one producer has claimed to have lost £ 25,000-worth of production and 165 colonies to this mite. According to recent figures, it is claimed that only one out of every 10 jars of honey on supermarket shelves are British.

This pest is destroying domestic honey production and the bees themselves – and with them goes a big pollinator.

There is now talk of £ 5,000 fines for producers who do not attempt to treat their colonies, and many are simply giving up.

A recent announcement has been made budgeting for £ 400,000 research into the mite, which has devastated tracts of Europe, the USA and Canada.

What else is being done? It is not just the honey producers who will suffer.

STEVEN NEWPORT, 70 Northcourt Road, Worthing, West Sussex BN14 7DT