Bee populations have been ravaged by diseases and infestations over the past 100 years and wild populations within the Uk are thought to be all but extinct. It now falls to beekeepers to maintain the Honey Bee population and try to develop stocks of bees that will once again populate its native areas.When I kept bees 40 years ago the advice nationally was to import bee stocks from abroad, mainly Italian and Carolinian bees, which were in no way native to this part of Europe let alone the UK.The result was predicable, bee stocks were adulterated and mixed and the only way beekeepers seemed to be able to manage their stocks was to continually import new Queens from abroad and then watch their stocks decline in both suitability and productivity until, guess what, they had to import more Queens to try and maintain a useful stock.
Meanwhile quietly in Ireland, Wales and Cornwall a few thoughtful beekeepers were noticing that the native bee ( Apis Melifera Melifera ) was actually still quite common and was surviving better without any major management or the need to import.. The native bee was able to resist many prevalent diseases, was surviving the onslaught of the Varoer mite as well as being happy to fly and forage in the West Countries particular climate. Any disadvantage in productivity in warm weather was easily outweighed by its ability fly in damp conditions and at low spring and autumn temperatures
In our view its a "No Brainer" and we work to select and breed a native bee that is naturally good tempered, productive and able to survive in our own area, we don't import queens or colonies from abroad and work towards a native bee stock that is self sustaining and ecologically friendly.
Albert Einstein is rumored to have said, “If the bee disappears from the surface of the earth, man would have no more than four years to live”.
Here are 5 ways that you can do your part to help save bees from disappearing:
1. Turn your garden or window box into a bee heaven by growing traditional wildflowers like poppies and cornflowers.
2. Take a minute to add your name to the Co-op petition for research into pesticides an their affect on the decline in bees.
3. Join our Adopt a hive program
4. Get your company to support our Cornish bees Project
5. Become a beekeeper yourself,, linked to the Bipco program and you can wow people with your new pets and your own local honey!