On 21 April, the UK government announced that £10m will be spent on research for pollinators – bees, butterflies and other insects – to see if the decline in UK populations can be halted.
The government is contributing £2m with the rest coming from the Biotechnology and Biological Science Research Council, the Natural Environment Research Council, the Wellcome Trust and the Scottish Government.
The British Beekeepers’ Association (BBKA) welcomes the announcement that additional money is to be found to fund bee health research. BBKA has recently published its document “Honey Bee Health – Research Concepts” which identifies key research projects to be pursued, covering a range of work from Varroa to viruses, queen bee quality to bee breeding and husbandry to habitat loss.
This new funding will enable Research Institutes to make bids to fund the urgent research work needed to combat the threats facing honey bee health. The BBKA looks forward to playing a full part in identifying and prioritising the research projects to be initiated.
Separately, BBC Radio 4’s Farming Today programme has announced that it will get its own beehive to watch over this year. This will coincide with a series of programmes and reports regarding bees during 2009.