HC Deb 30 March 1897 vol 48 c114

I beg to ask the Secretary to the Treasury, as representing the Postmaster General, if he is aware that the American Postal Regulations give express authority for the sending of live bees in wooden boxes, closed with a wire screen and protected by a movable wooden lid, as samples of merchandise to the British Colonies in Australia, to Canada, British India, to every country in Europe (except Great Britain, Russia, and Turkey), to the, South American Republics, and to the Colonies of Spain and the Netherlands: and, having regard to the fact that Mr. Hewitt, the bee fancier of Sheffield, only desires like facilities for the dispatch to British Colonies of the queen or mother bees he breeds, and not for a swarm, whether the matter can be reconsidered under similar precautions against the danger of the escape of such queens into a mail bag?


My hon. and gallant Friend has slightly overstated the case; but it is true that several countries as well as the British Colonies which he mentions admit live bees by post from the United States. There is, however, a rule of long standing in the British postal service that living things should not be sent by post; and if an exception is once made to the general rule, it is obvious that it might be necessary to extend that exception to animals less innocuous than a stingless queen bee. But the Postmaster General will take the opportunity which the Question affords him of considering whether it is desirable to maintain or modify the rule, and, if so, in what way.