Threats and Diseases
At the start of the twentieth century, it has been estimated there were about one million beehives in the UK. Now the number is about 280,000 with a significant decline in the number of beekeepers.
There have been several reports about diseases affecting bees themselves. The losses of bees over the winter periods has increased dramatically. The British Beekeepers’ Association reported a loss of 30% for 2007/8.
It is not clear what is affecting bees and, in all probability, it will turn out to be a number of factors. The intensification of agriculture, the loss of ‘traditional’ meadows (with lots of different plants) and also heather moorlands, means that there are fewer plants for bees. These changes, coupled with exposure to pesticides and the increasing incidence of parasites (varroa mite) and disease (chalk brood fungus, nosema apis – which invades the gut of a bee) mean that bee colonies are at risk.
We will develop these pages over time to provide comprehensive information, treatments and links to other data sources to help you tackle these threats effectively.