Beekeepers facing 'meltdown' as more than half of hives wiped out

Beekeepers facing 'meltdown' as more than half of hives wiped out


ForestFriends.ie
Written by jonathan (07/07/13, 06:01:32)

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0cm;background:white">Beekeepers facing 'meltdown' as more than half

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of hives wiped out

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white"> 

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white">MARK KEENAN  04 JULY 2013

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2;background:white">MORE than half of Ireland's honeybee

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population has been wiped out since winter, say beekeepers, who have described

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the losses as a "complete and utter meltdown".

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white">Varroa mites and their related

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diseases, poor breeding and two years of bad weather have played a big role in

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decimating bee numbers. But beekeepers are also blaming a controversial range

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of new agricultural pesticides neonicotinoids for contributing to the

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losses of between 50pc and 80pc of Irish hives this year.

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white">In the UK, reports of 60pc losses

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spurred the government there to last week launch what it described as an

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"urgent review" of the bee crisis.

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white">According to the Federation of Irish

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Beekeepers' Associations (FIBA), the wipeout among its 2,000-plus members is

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the worst ever. It estimates that Irish hive numbers have fallen below 10,000

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from more than 20,000 before winter.

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white">LOSSES

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white">The losses have prompted FIBA's David

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Lee to call for a similar Government-led inquiry here. "Something has to

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be done. Not one area has escaped this devastation," he said.

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white">Ireland's largest commercial beekeeper Michael Moynihan, of

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Dungarvan, Co Waterford, described the crisis as "nothing short of a

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complete and utter meltdown".

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white">"Three years ago I had 600 hives.

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Last winter I had 400. This year I'm down to less than 200. In 50 years of

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beekeeping, I've seen nothing like this," he said.

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white">Beekeepers also report a similar

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collapse in the wasp population.

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white">Dr Mary Coffey, of the National

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Apricultural (beekeeping) Programme (NAP) at the University of Limerick,

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conducts the official state tally of winter losses for honeybees, which is

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expected by the end of this month. While she added that French research has

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confirmed that neonicotinoids kill bees, she believes the worst damage has been

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caused by the weather.

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white">Irish Independent

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