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Last Updated: Thursday, 3 May 2007, 06:09 GMT 07:09 UK
Welsh urged to become beekeepers
A bee landing on a sunflower
John Taylor said Wales' wild bee colonies were virtually extinct
People in Wales are being urged to take-up beekeeping to counter a big drop in the number of wild bees.

The Welsh Beekeepers' Association (WBA) is meeting with the UK's chief bee inspector to discuss the issue.

WBA secretary John Taylor said a parasitic mite called varroa had virtually wiped-out Wales' wild bees.

If it were not for beekeepers, he said the ecological system would be in trouble. He added people could do their bit by becoming beekeepers.

Speaking ahead of Thursday's meeting at Gelli Aur college farm in Llandeilo, Carmarthenshire, Mr Taylor said: "A lot of the wild bees - the feral bees - have died out.

"We had an invasion of a mite called varroa and that attaches itself to the bees and it eventually destroys them.

"Those that we have in our bee hives we are able to treat. But the wild colonies - and there were goodness knows how many in days gone by - have been virtually wiped out.

If you want to save the planet - become a beekeeper
John Taylor

"The vast majority of honey bees you see now belong to bee keepers."

At the meeting association members will hear the views of Britain's chief bee inspector, Richard Ball.

"You need more keepers because they play a very important role in the ecological system," added Mr Taylor.

"The pollination is very important for people with orchards and fruit farms etc - they will pay money for beekeepers to bring bees into the orchards at the crucial times."

Mr Taylor said Albert Einstein once predicted that if bees were to become extinct mankind could only survive for four years.

"People have looked at this and said that was not exactly true - they've estimated it would take seven years - but he was apparently along the right track.

"To take up bee keeping there are three things to do.

"One is to read a book. Two is to get to know a beekeeper and three is to join an association.

"If you do the latter you will soon get to know a beekeeper and they will tell you which books to read."

He stressed beekeeping was not just a countryside activity.

"They've been kept on top of the Bank of England - I can tell you that if anyone knows that part of London there are not many fields around there.

"If you want to save the planet, become a beekeeper."


SEE ALSO
Homing instinct of bees surprises
26 Jul 06 |  Science/Nature
Bees and flowers decline in step
20 Jul 06 |  Science/Nature
Thieves steal swarm of bees
02 Sep 04 |  South West Wales
Secret of bumblebee capital
25 May 04 |  South West Wales

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