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Bee decline could lead to disastrous global food shortage

Chris Norton, left, is appealing for people to plant flowers for bees to pullunate. he is pictured here checking on his bee hives, with his father-in-law Andrew Simpkin

Chris Norton, left, is appealing for people to plant flowers for bees to pullunate. he is pictured here checking on his bee hives, with his father-in-law Andrew Simpkin

A ‘beekeeping disaster’ is heading for the UK this year according to a local honey producer who has lost several hives to the cold weather.

Chris Norton, of Boston Honey, lost five of his 12 hives in the last few weeks – with each costing £300 to replace.

“It’s the worst hive loss I’ve ever had,” said Chris, 42.

“A couple of weeks ago I noticed there was no activity from five of the hives so I opened them up and found the bees were basically all dead in them.”

The cold weather this year has affected the growth of nectar-producing plants, which Chris says has lead to ‘insufficient food’ for the insects.

Nationally, it is expected there will be a 50-75 per cent loss in the number of honey bees.

“Small independent honey producers are taking a real hammering,” said Chris, who has kept bees for six years.

“People can help by growing plants suitable for pollunators, taking up beekeeping – or supporting local beekeepers by buying their honey.”

Bees are vital in the food chain, pollunating crops which would otherwise fail.

It is feared their global decline, still largely a mystery, could lead to a worldwide food shortage.

Honey bees and other pollunators like bumblebees, butterflies and moths, are responsible for pollunating a third of the world’s food.

Honey bee numbers are said to have fallen by around 30 per cent in the last few years.

Weather, loss of habitat and pesticides are thought to be contributors to their recent decline.

A bee dies after it stings you.

Queen bees can live for up to four years.

Female ‘worker bees’ collect all the nectar; the males simply ‘mate and eat’, says Chris.

 

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