HC Deb 12 June 1986 vol 99 c282W
35. Mr. Nicholas Baker

asked the Minister of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food if he will make a statement about the current state of commercial beekeeping in the United Kingdom.

Mrs. Fenner

Commercial beekeepers, defined as those with more than 40 colonies, number some 450, or 1 per cent. of all beekeepers in the United Kingdom; they keep about 46,000 colonies, representing about 25 per cent. of all bees kept. The industry has recently been adversely affected by substantial losses of bee colonies last winter resulting from the bad weather during the previous 12 months. My Department estimates these losses to have been some 40 to 50 per cent. on average, although some commercial beekeepers may have suffered higher losses, compared to 20 per cent. in a normal winter. Recovery of the losses will require careful husbandry, but the speed of recovery will also depend on weather conditions this summer.

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