Britain’s backyard beekeepers are to be taught by government-trained volunteer teachers to help them avoid the problem of winter bee deaths and acquire better husbandry skills.
Soaring numbers of people are taking up beekeeping as a hobby amid concern over honeybee decline. But many inexperienced beekeepers lose their colonies over winter due to the challenges of pests and diseases, so better skills are needed, say the government. The National Bee Unit discovered that 16% of bee colonies did not survive last year’s cold months.
The course is being run in partnership with the British Beekeeping Association and the board for the National Diploma in Beekeeping. Partially funded by the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (defra), the scheme is part of the government’s Healthy Bees Plan.
Delivered through local beekeeping associations, beekeepers will be trained in groups by the new teachers alongside government bee inspectors, who already offer advice on pests and diseases.
Environment minister Lord Henley said: “Bees are essential to putting food on our table and worth £200m to Britain every year through pollinating our crops. The training will help the many new bee-keepers to keep their hives healthy and bees buzzing.”
Photo: © Crown copyright/www.direct.gov.uk