The British Beekeepers Association (BBKA) is very fortunate in being part of a brand new, exciting project to look at the health of honeybees after exposure to chemicals, involving many European countries and funded by the EU. 

The project, named PoshBee (pan-European assessment, monitoring and mitigation of stressors on the health of bees) has 9 million Euros to boost global bee health. It is designed to determine the exposure of bees to a range of chemicals and assess the level of pests, diseases and nutritional status and the impacts these may have on the health of honeybees, bumblebees and solitary bees in a field realistic way rather than laboratory studies. 

Beekeepers will be paid to take part

Pam Hunter, BBKA Trustee in charge of research projects, said "This is going to be a wonderful opportunity for some of our members to take part in real scientific experiments and initially we need 30 hives in two sites in Kent and in Berkshire or Oxfordshire from spring next year.

"Details are not yet finalised but the beekeepers would be paid for use of their hives which will be places in orchards in Kent and in oil seed rape fields in the Reading area.

"The sites will be chosen by Prof Simon Potts of Reading University in collaboration with farmers to represent differing levels of pesticide use among other factors." 

Prof Potts and Prof Mark Brown of Royal Holloway college have been the guiding lights in getting the study finally approved. 

Samples gathered & sent to labs

The aim is to take various samples from colonies throughout the beekeeping season next year and these will be assayed in laboratories by various experts. Those willing to take part will be expected to have colonies ready for moving in spring of 2019. 

Please contact Pam Hunter if you are interested in taking part: [email protected]

For those interested and willing to take part, Prof Potts will give a presentation at the National Beekeeping Centre at Stoneleigh later this year. 

Please check the BBKA website regularly as the plans are still under development and contact Pam Hunter on the email above with any queries.