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Honeybees

Honeybees Could be Wiped Out in 10 Years, Warn Beekeepers

Monday, September 15, 2008 by: David Gutierrez, staff writer
Tags: honeybees, health news, Natural News


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(NaturalNews) Beekeepers in the United Kingdom have warned that the country's honeybee population could be all but wiped out within 10 years, unless the government allocates 8 million ($16 million) to fund research into identifying and eliminating threats to the industry.

"Beekeeping is still reeling from the varroa mite, which carries a number of viruses and devastated thousands of hives across the country when it reached Britain 10 years ago," said Tim Lovett, president of the British Beekeeping Association. "Now there is a real danger that colony collapse disease, which has wiped out 80 per cent of bees in parts of the United States, will appear in this country. Unless we develop effective protection, there could then be massive losses of bees across the country."

Government ministers have said that there is no money available for agricultural research projects.

"The pollinating of farmers' crops carried out by our bees is provided free of charge," Lovett responded. "Over five years, that work raises 800 million for the nation. We are asking for an 8 million research program to save our bees to run for five years. That is 1 percent of the money our bees generate."

Honeybees are critical for the pollination of many commercial food and ingredient crops, contributing an estimated 165 million ($333 million) per year, plus an additional 12 million ($24 million) in honey sales.

The beekeepers say that they are still recovering from the effects of the varroa mite, which affected approximately half of all beehives in the United Kingdom. If the still-fragile bee population is hit with colony collapse disorder, they say, it could mean disaster.

"We have to be prepared for that happening and to have some line of defense," Lovett said. "We need to know what is causing this disease and find ways to combat it so we are not completely exposed when it arrives here."

Most beekeepers believe that the spread of colony collapse to the United Kingdom is inevitable.

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