Below are some links to keep you up to date with current and important news stories about bees.
April 2022 – First Asian hornets of 2022 are found in Channel Islands
The first bee-killing Asian hornets of 2022 have been spotted on the Channel Islands. They were found in Jersey and now several sightings have been reported in Guernsey. Asian hornets can be distinguished from their native counterparts by their abdomens, which are entirely dark except for a single band of yellow – native hornets’ abdomens are predominantly yellow.
Editorial note: You can download the Asian Hornet Watch App to identify and report any sightings to The National Bee Unit. Full details at https://www.gov.uk/government/news/new-app-to-report-asian-hornet-sightings
April 2022 – B&Q to stop supplying plants grown with neonicotinoids
B&Q have announced that from February next year, they will only sell flowering plants that are grown without neonicotinoids.
April 2022 – Tesco stores to give left-over sugar to Cornwall bee society
Tesco stores in Cornwall & Devon have arranged to give the spilt sugar left over on the shelves and from their bakeries to the Bee Improvement Programme for Cornwall (BIPCo) for winter stores prep.
January 2022 – Government approves neonicotinoids for use in British Sugar fields
The government has again decided to approve temporary use of the banned pesticides because of a virus which affects sugar beet. British Sugar plc applied for an exemption in England this year because of the threat posed by Beet Yellows Virus. The decision came despite expert advisers finding requirements for use had not been met.
Full story at https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/newsbeat-59995387
March 2022 update – The government has released a statement detailing their reasoning behind the decision, and they do recognise the effects on bees. Controls have been put in place regarding follow-on crops and land management. You can read the full statement here https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/neonicotinoid-product-as-seed-treatment-for-sugar-beet-emergency-authorisation-application/statement-of-reasons-for-the-decision-on-the-application-for-emergency-authorisation-for-the-use-of-cruiser-sb-on-sugar-beet-crops-in-2022
Editorial note: Please write to your MP to express your disappointment and request that the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs refuses the use in any future decisions. Using these sort of pesticides affects the whole ecosystem which is why the sugar beet have no natural protection from the aphids that cause the virus. We need to start taking a more holistic, environment-first approach to protect our pollinators. You can contact your MP through this link https://members.parliament.uk/members/Commons. British Sugar’s retail brand is Silver Spoon so you can decide if you wish to use Silver Spoon sugar in your hives and elsewhere. Tate & Lyle is not owned by British Sugar and is sold at Tesco, Sainsburys, Waitrose, Co-op, Ocado and CostCo.
November 2021 – Lost British honeybee found at Blenheim
Thousands of rare forest honeybees that appear to be the last wild descendants of Britain’s native honeybee population have been discovered in the ancient woodlands of Blenheim Palace. 50 colonies have been recorded with one nest estimated to be at least 200 years old found in the grounds. The bees appear to be varroa resistant, can forage at temperatures down to 4C and have multiple queens in a nest. They are apparently so calm, they can be handled without protection.
September 2021 – Young amateur beekeepers to compete in BBC TV show
Show Me the Honey! features five children and their families taking part in a series of weekly challenges to create the best hive and tastiest honey. The seven-part CBBC series aims to tap into rising interest in apiaries. One of the contestants lives in Croydon and was mentored by one of our members, Debbie Burney.
Full story at https://www.theguardian.com/media/2021/sep/15/show-me-the-honey-amateur-beekeepers-compete-bbc-show and in our October 2021 newsletter.
You can watch Show Me The Honey! on BBC iPlayer at https://www.bbc.co.uk/iplayer/episode/m00103lw/show-me-the-honey-series-1-episode-1