Friday, 19 March 2010

Armchair Beekeepers Wanted!

Adopt a Beehive fundraising campaign launched to save our honey bees

The British Beekeepers Association (BBKA) today (March 19) announced its response to the widespread public concern over the country’s disappearing honey bees, by launching Adopt a Beehive – the first public fundraising campaign in its 136-year history. Sponsored by the Saga Group and supported also by Michelin-starred chef Raymond Blanc, the new campaign is aimed at the many thousands of people who are concerned over the appalling loss of honey bees , but who are unable to have a hive themselves. Martin Smith, BBKA President, said: ”Adopt a Beehive is the way people can do something to help the plight of the honey bee and support the charitable aims of the BBKA.

“They can be confident that their donation to the campaign will be making a direct contribution towards funding applied bee health research and training beekeepers – the vital measures needed to ensure our honey bees survive.”
Raymond Blanc, Michelin- starred chef, said: “I like to cook with the finest fresh locally sourced fruit and vegetables and I know just how important honey bees are in pollinating them. “We cannot take it for granted that the bees will always be buzzing around; we have to keep them healthy. If they disappear it will be a recipe for disaster. “We can all help by planting pollen and nectar rich plants and trees and of course giving money to fund research into why they are dying. “The Adopt a Beehive campaign will help. Remember, without bees, there may be no Apple Tart Maman Blanc… and no more honey for tea.” Investment in bee health research will be directed into tackling the effects of the varroa mite, endemic in UK colonies since 1992 , viruses and infections, work on queen rearing, honey bee genetics and bee husbandry as well as considering the effects of pesticides, bio-security and habitat loss. The BBKA recently announced £36,000 funding for post doctoral research into the genetic basis of hygienic behaviour (self cleansing) in honey bees at Sussex University.
Another beneficiary of campaign funding will be the BBKA’s new three year education programme to ensure that the nation’s beekeepers are up to the new challenges they face.

Martin Smith, BBKA President, continued: “Our honey bees have to stay healthy, research must continue into why they are dying, and we have to make facilities and materials available to ensure that British beekeepers are the best informed and trained in the world. This is the recipe for successful beekeeping.”

“Saga’s generous sponsorship has allowed us to set up Adopt a Beehive . Its millions of customers care deeply about the environment and the role honey bees play in it and we welcome their support.”

Andrew Goodsell, the Executive Chairman of Saga, said:"I am delighted that Saga has been able to help create the Adopt a Beehive campaign. Many people are deeply concerned about the environmental and other problems facing the honey bee. This scheme enables people who do not have time to keep bees personally to play an active part in helping to saving the British bee."
To Adopt a Beehive for a year costs £29.50 and each person will receive a welcome pack including a jar of British honey or a jar of honey mustard, a fridge magnet, a wooden honey dipper, postcards, facts sheet and certificate. The seasonal newsletter will provide a link to the hives of a network of beekeepers from around the UK and the latest news of bee health research. To sign up for Adopt a Beehive visit and meet the colony of 14 beekeepers whose progress can be followed online.

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