As a key stakeholder involved in the development of the National Pollinator Strategy the British Beekeepers Association (BBKA) welcomed the launch of the National Pollinator Strategy on 4th November 2014. As a leading beekeeping organisation, established in 1874, we have sought at every stage of the development of the strategy to keep the bee's needs at the top of the agenda.
Recent times have presented substantial challenges to the health of our bee colonies. The BBKA has campaigned, informed, educated and worked in partnerships to secure the future of our bees with and on behalf of the 24,500 Beekeepers we represent and of course to the benefit of food production and the environment.
Our beekeeping activities support over 260 local associations to help in the collection of swarms, working with schools and environmental partners. We work with business providing information and research results to improve the provision of pollen and nectar rich forage within the urban and farmed environment across the country.
By planting flowering plants for honeybees we can provide the forage nectar and pollen they need from early spring right through to early winter. In doing so we also support bumblebees, solitary bees, hoverflies and other pollinators with the continuous supply of the pollen and nectar they require. In turn this creates habitats, which produce the berries and seeds that wildlife such as birds, small mammals and other insects depend on.
Honeybees are key players in pollination. However, they face their own problems such as the Varroa mite (Varroa destructor) weakening their defences against bee diseases like viruses, as well as the imminent threats from Small Hive Beetle and the Asian Hornet.
Beekeepers manage their bees, providing hives and food when needed to ensure that there is a pollination resource available to enable fruits and crops to be produced as well as flowers, trees and shrubs to reproduce. Honey is only the tip of the iceberg in terms of the importance of bees.
So what can you do to help?
As an individual –
Visit our website www.bbka.org
You can plant a wide variety of flowering of plants that bloom between February and October
Text to donate ( BEES33 and your donation amount to 70070 ) to help raise funds for vital honey bee research into varroa
Become a Friend of the Honeybee – find out more about planting for honeybees to support bees & wildlife
As a Corporation –
Join the BBKA and help us spread the word -
Some examples of what have we achieved so far?
Barratt Homes - all new developments are planted for honeybees and in-school educational projects
Belectric - planting of 400+ acres of nectar & pollen rich forage for honeybees by March 2015
Hive Energy - planting and providing sites for hives
National Grid - providing forage rich sites for hives
Noble Foods - 100 acres of planting for honeybees
Gazeley - planting for pollinators and planted apiaries
Suttons Seeds - specially selected flower seeds for bees
Jub Bulbs - selected bulb collections
Anchor – planting for pollinators with their clients and local schools
English Mustard Growers – research project into the farmed environment with a view to intercrop enhancement.
Research Support – for example supporting the University of Newcastle work on pollen and nectar rich forage sources
Schools and Young People
Through our local network of Beekeeping Associations we support beekeeping in schools through apiary set up and guidance, planting programmes and talks all about bees needs and their importance within the environment.
In your Local Area - Throughout the country our network of local beekeeping associations support their communities through talks, educational courses, beekeeper training and work in partnership to improve the environment for the honeybee and other pollinators.