A West Midlands MEP is campaigning to protect the British honey bee from foreign invaders which threaten to decimate the population.
UKIP’s James Carver has already called for a ban on the export of Italian queen bees and on the movement of hives from the country which has infestations of small hive beetle, capable of destroying already vulnerable hives.
Tonight, he will learn more about another threat from the killer Asian hornet, which ferociously attacks, decapitating thousands of bees to steal their honey and larvae and pupae used to feed their young.
Mr Carver is attending a meeting of the Warwick and Leamington Beekeepers at Stoneleigh, where members will be told to be vigilant following the discovery of an Asian hornet nest in Tetbury, Gloucestershire, last year.
Chairman Paul Kerr said: “We need to raise awareness of the danger posed by the Asian hornet and need a public information campaign so that people can recognise and report findings.
“The reason for the decline in the bee population is cumulative – with new threats added all the time. This is the latest and it is crucial that action is taken to eradicate the problem.”
Beekeepers will be advised what to look out for as in spring, queens, measuring up to 3cm, emerge to start nest building. They will also be shown how to create an Asian hornet trap.
Mr Carver, UKIP’s Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs spokesman, said the Asian hornet invader could reach our shores in vehicles – especially lorries – or in soil when plants and trees are imported.
He said: “This is an extremely serious situation and every effort is needed to eradicate the Asian hornet.
“Beekeepers know it is only a matter of time before the small hive beetle also reaches the UK - and yet the European Union has done nothing in response my plea last September, even though this beetle has been found in France, Spain and Portugal.”
Mr Kerr added: “We were disappointed by the lack of action after James made the statement in the European Parliament calling for the prohibition of queen bee and hive movement from Italy.
“The issues of both the small hive beetle and the Asian hornet need to be taken seriously if we are to maintain our bee population.”
Albert Einstein famously said: “If the bee disappeared off the surface of the globe, then man would have only four years of life left. No more bees, no more pollination, no more plants, no more animals, no more man.”
Honey bee numbers are rapidly declining for a variety of reasons, including parasites, the use of pesticides, climate change, the loss of biodiversity, destruction of habitat.