PRESS RELEASE FROM THE RT HON PETER LILLEY MP
Tuesday May 12th 2009
LILLEY SUPPORTS CALL FOR MORE RESEARCH ON HONEY BEES
Peter Lilley, MP for Hitchin and Harpenden, has visited local beekeepers in Prae Wood to discuss the worldwide threat to honey bees which could affect food production everywhere.
He said: “I was delighted to talk to members of the St Albans Beekeepers Association about their work and the serious situation confronting the honey bee population. For reasons not clearly understood, viruses and diseases are attacking the bees, which play a vital role in putting food on our tables. It is estimated that they pollinate about a third of the fruit and vegetables we eat.
“In the last two years, about 15 per cent of UK honey bees have died out and the beekeepers need to know what they can do to combat this decline.
“They were pleased that the government has made £10 million available for pollination research, but stressed how important it was that this research focussed on honey bees which face serious threats rather than spread thinly among all the other insect pollinators.
“The St Albans group has not suffered the sort of colony collapse which is a major problem in the USA. But if local hives are to be kept healthy and productive, it’s important that the right research is done before this problem spreads over here.
“It is sad that one of the world’s leading bee research units at Rothamsted in my constituency was closed three years ago for lack of funding. Honey bees are virtually extinct in the wild and only survive because beekeepers tend their hives. Unless this trend in bee numbers is reversed, the impact on food production could be devastating.”
* Attached is picture of Peter Lilley with Marian Whittaker of the St Albans Beekeepers Association