Winnie-the-Pooh has been called on to help with the plight of vanishing British honeybee colonies.
As concern grows world wide about the declining population of honeybees, The British Beekeepers Association (BBKA) has launched a public awareness campaign using the classic bear character to show people how to help bees thrive.
The campaign comes hot on the heels of news that more than 14 percent of honeybee colonies in England were lost over the winter period, and a survey which found that although more than 50 per cent of British adults would like to help bee colonies grow, many did not know how to do this.
The BBKA called the losses “unacceptably high levels and are still in excess of what might be considered normal losses of 5-10%”. Although it blames bad weather, parasites and bee diseases for the loss, it said year round annual losses were a result of the use of neonicotinoid pesticides as a reason for colony deaths. The European Food Safety Authority has placed a two year ban on the pesticides and also this week launched a survey to find out the danger to honeybee colonies from other agricultural chemicals.
It is estimated that bees add to the British economy annually through pollination with nearly 85 per cent of its apple crop and 45 per cent of its strawberry crop relying on both wild and commercial honeybee colonies.