Is there honey still for Tea?

The Jersey Beekeeper’s Association is still buzzing after 100 years, says its former chairman, BOB HOGGE

NOW part of Genuine Jersey and having recently become a registered charity, the Jersey Beekeepers Association has over 100 members, who between them manage over 400 hives.

As JBKA new President, Dr Tim du Feu explained: ‘The disease, American Foulbrood, which killed off almost half the Island’s hives, has now been controlled and the Association is looking forward to the future.

‘Our “Beginning Beekeeping” classes are oversubscribed and there is a lot of interest in bees and beekeeping as well as a greater understanding of their importance, not least in giving us our world-class and unique Genuine Jersey Honey.’

On 24 March the Association are inviting the people of Jersey to the first of a series of public talks about honey bees, the threats to their welfare, and that of other pollinators, and what we can do to halt their decline. Giving the talks are leading UK scientists, researchers and campaigners. The series of talks is titled: Will There be Honey Still for Tea? (with apologies to the famous poem, Grantchester Vicarage, 444444444by Rupert Brooke).

The series has been sponsored by the Howard Davis Farm Trust.

The first lecture in the series is: ‘The Honey Bee, Predators, Parasites, Pests and Pathogens.’ The speaker is Dr Giles Budge PhD, of Newcastle University.

It takes place at 7.30pm on 24 March at the RJA&HS, Trinity.

Dr Giles Budge, a leading researcher in honey bee health, will bring his audience up to date on the state of health of the UK’s honey bees and any future threats that might be coming.

Dr Budge is Head of Science at FERA, part of Newcastle University Research Gate Campus outside York. The campus is the site of the National Bee Unit that trains the UK’s bee inspectors and is a leading centre for honey bee research in the UK.

Giles was the lead researcher into Jersey’s recent outbreak of American Foulbrood Disease that wiped just under half of the Island’s managed honey bee colonies and from which the Island’s beekeepers have still not fully recovered.

‘Understanding what is happening to our honey bees might help us understand the reasons why so many of our pollinators are in such a serious decline - and not just here in Jersey but in the UK and around the World. It is something that is now being recognised by governments around the world, who are concerned that a major proportion of what we require for our survival - such as food, natural raw materials and carbon storage - rely on the services of pollinator.

This talk launches the JBKA’s Centenary Lecture series and will be of interest to all those concerned about the environment, sustainability and food security.

After all, it has been postulated that if we lose the world’s pollinators - we lose the world.

 For further details, contact Bob Hogge. E-mail rnhogge@gmail.com; mobile,   0779776511300