Page last updated at 12:39 GMT, Wednesday, 24 February 2010

Denbighshire villagers' bid to become 'bee friendly'

Denbighshire beekeeper John Fleet
Beekeeper John Fleet says bees are declining in number

A Denbighshire village is planting shrubs and trees in a bid to become "bee-friendly".

Villagers in Henllan have been given more than £7,500 through the Welsh Assembly Government's Rural Development Plan.

As well as lavender and wild flowers in gardens and community beds, the village school also hopes to plant an orchard.

Disease, climate change and pesticide use have been blamed for the decline of honey bees in recent years.

Residents formed the Henllan Conservation Group and received £7,510 in funding.

Community councillor John Barratt said: "We want to become a bee-friendly village and help all pollinating insects.

"We will be planting things like buddleia and lavender and a whole range of wildflowers throughout our gardens and in community flowerbeds."

He said a number of people became interested after a film about the decline of honeybees was shown in the village.

Silas Jones, of rural development agency Cadwyn Clwyd, said: "Everyone has heard about the decline of the bee population but the difference is that in Henllan they're doing something about it.

"As with so many village activities the Women's Institute are behind it and Henllan WI approached us after the national WI passed the resolution SOS for Honey Bees with a 99.4% majority at their national AGM.

"They want to do something practical for the honey bee and we're delighted to be able to help them."

Retired surgeon John Fleet, who keeps bees in the village, said: "Varroa mites weakened the colonies and while we learned to cope with that they were attacked by a virus and now whole hives are dying.

"I had eight but now I have just two despite being a beekeeper with 26 years experience and that means a lot less honey."

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