Below are some links to keep you up to date with current events and important news stories about bees.
Nov 2022 – Petition to Parliament for reviewing the regulations around honey labelling
The BBKA is asking us to sign the second stage of their petition to get Parliament to review the regulations around the labelling of honey products and address the situation where large volume sellers are allowed to sell syrup derivatives in honey and still call it honey. This affects everyone who likes to eat real honey so please sign it if you can.
Full details at https://www.bbka.org.uk/news/honey-petition
Nov 2022 – Consuming two tablespoons of honey improves blood sugar and cholesterol levels, study finds
Consuming two tablespoons of honey can help balance blood sugar and improve cholesterol levels, according to a new study. Experts said replacing added sweeteners in the diet – such as sugar in tea – with honey can lower the risks of illnesses associated with eating too much sugar, like type 2 diabetes, heart disease and non-alcoholic fatty liver disease.
Nov 2022 – Bumblebees less likely to land on flowers sprayed with fertilisers – study
Scientists from the University of Bristol have found that treating flowers with commonly used synthetic fertilisers causes the electrical field around the flowers to change – making it harder for the bees to identify the species.
July 2022 – Bees are really highly intelligent
“We now have suggestive evidence that there is some level of conscious awareness in bees – that there is a sentience, that they have emotion-like states,” says Lars Chittka, professor of sensory and behavioural ecology at Queen Mary University of London. “Our work and that of other labs has shown that bees are really highly intelligent individuals. That they can count, recognise images of human faces and learn simple tool use and abstract concepts.”
June 2022 – Petition to Parliament for reviewing the regulations around honey labelling
The BBKA is asking us to sign a petition to get Parliament to review the regulations around the labelling of honey products and address the situation where large volume sellers are allowed to sell syrup derivatives in honey and still call it honey. This affects everyone who likes to eat real honey so please sign it if you can.
Full details at https://www.bbka.org.uk/news/honey-labelling-petition
May 2022 – Discover The power of superbees with family activities at RHS Gardens this May half term
If you’re stuck for something to do with the little ones this half term, the Royal Horticultural Society’s gardens are doing a week of family activities centred around bees and beekeeping. There’s a garden trail, craft, cooking and sowing workshops, bee safaris, bee presentations and a real beehive to look inside at RHS Wisley. There’s even a downloadable activity sheet to do at home that includes making a bee watering station.
Full details at https://www.rhs.org.uk/gardens/articles/family-fun-for-half-term
May 2022 – Are robot beekeepers the future?
Fully automated, AI controlled ‘robot’ beehives have been developed by a company in Israel where the beekeeper is alerted to problems as soon as they occur and able to intervene remotely.
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