Honeybee deaths reaching crisis point
Honey bees are essential not for the honey that they provide us with but for the job they do in ensuring that fruit and vegetable crops are pollinated. In the UK the honeybee population is in crisis and noone seems to be able to agree on the cause. A wet 2007 and a build up of pathogens in the hives is one theory but it does not seem to be quite the same as the USA hive decimation caused by colony collapse disorder (CCD).
A major cause for concern has been the UK government's underinvestment in research into this something the industry has campaigned for over the last few years. The price of raw honey has risen more quickly than the price of crude oil - it's gone up 60% - honey shortages are predicted in the UK by Christmas.
The birds and the bees are essential to our environmental ballance and this includes the bees farmed by humans - over thousands of years our interelationship has been built into the complex agricultural and environmental relationship. The plight of the honeybee is more important than many realise as they take the humble bee for granted as just a producer of that sweet golden liquid honey.
Britain's honeybees have suffered catastrophic losses this year, according to a survey of the nation's beekeepers, contributing to a shortage of honey and putting at risk the pollination of fruits and vegetables.
The survey by the British Beekeepers' Association (BBKA) revealed that nearly one in three of the UK's 240,000 honeybee hives did not survive this winter and spring.
The losses are higher than the one in five colonies reported dead earlier this year by the government after 10% of hives had been inspected