Friday, 1 August 2008

No honey by Christmas

English honey will run out by Christmas because pests have decimated the honey bee population, shoppers were warned last night.

Billions of bees have been wiped out in America and Europe and British bees are under attack from a killer mite.

As every third mouthful of the food we consume is linked to bee pollination, scientists say the collapse of bee colonies will have a massive impact on food supplies and prices.

Flowering crops such as beans, peas, strawberries and raspberries will not produce fruit. The pollinating services of bees are estimated to be worth £165million a year to the UK economy.

Stuart Bailey, director of the Honey Association, is quoted as saying that: “There will be no English honey on the shelves of supermarkets at Christmas though there will be some from abroad. Consumers will not get English honey unless they buy it from local bee keepers but they too will sell out quite quickly.”

Mr Bailey called on the Government to pump more money into bee research. The British Beekeepers Association wants the current spend of about £200,000 a year to increase to £8million over five years.

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