Monday, 21 January 2008

*Honeybees may be wiped out in 10 years

Honeybees will die out in Britain within a decade as virulent diseases and parasites spread through the nation's hives, experts have warned.

Whole colonies of bees are already being wiped out, with current methods of pest control unable to stop the problem.

The British Beekeepers Association (BBKA) said that if the crisis continued, honeybees would disappear completely from Britain by 2018, causing "calamitous" economic and environmental problems. It called on the Government to restart shelved research programmes and to fund new ones to try to save the insects. Tim Lovett, the association's president, said: "The situation has become insupportable and the Government is unwilling to take steps to avoid disaster.

"We're increasingly unable to cope with threats as they arise. No bees means a huge cost to agriculture, without touching on the ecological and environmental issues. We're facing calamitous results."

Last year, more than 11 per cent of all beehives inspected were wiped out, although losses were higher in some areas.

In London, about 4,000 hives - two-thirds of the bee colonies in the capital - were estimated to have died over last winter. Of the eight colonies inspected so far this year, all have been wiped out.

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