Bee population loss beginning to slow

Garden and greenhouse enthusiasts may be glad to learn that the UK seems to be winning the battle against honeybee population decline.

According to the Royal Horticultural Society (RHS), there has been widespread concern over the past few years that honeybee numbers could fall to a critical level.

However, in spite of the harsh winter, the British Beekeepers Association (BBKA) has reported that around 80 per cent of colonies have survived over the 2009/10 winter – a more positive figure than the 70 per cent seen in previous years.

"It shows that our honey bees are slowly moving out of intensive care but they are still not healthy enough," BBKA president Martin Smith told the RHS.

"Winter losses of between seven and ten per cent are acceptable: the current rate is not."

There is still a lot of concern in the US, where more than a third of honeybee colonies died out over winter for the fourth consecutive year.

This is mainly down to Colony Collapse Disorder – where entire hives die at once for no apparent reason.

In other news, the RHS recently presented a Cambridge University student with its Young Horticulturalist of the Year gong.