What is happening to the honeybees in the UK?  
  Honeybee numbers are being devastated by what could be a mite, a virus or a fungus – or it could be something else? We don’t yet know what is causing the calamitous decline in the numbers of honeybee colonies and urgent research is needed.   
  How bad is the problem?  
  The number of honeybees in the UK (and globally) has fallen drastically. Two years ago, the number of bee hives or colonies plunged by a third during the winter. Last year another fifth of our honeybees were lost.   
  Why should farmers be concerned?  
  Honeybees are amongst the hardest working farm labourers in Britain. Yet the work they do costs us nothing. However, without them, the harvests would fail and the UK could be facing a major agricultural crisis and a threat to our national food security.  
  Which areas of agriculture are most at risk?  
  Top fruit, soft fruit, vegetables and oil seed rape are amongst the crops that are the most reliant on honeybee pollination. If the honeybee numbers continue to fall, it is these areas of farming that will suffer the most.    
  What does the BBKA do?  
  The British Beekeepers’ Association is an educational charity that promotes the craft of beekeeping in the UK and is currently campaigning hard for funds into research into the decline of the honeybee population in the UK and has published a list of the research work that needs to be undertaken. (Honey Bee Health Research Concepts, BBKA 2009, available on from the BBKA website: www.britishbee.org.uk/)   
  Why is New Holland involved?  
  As a major UK manufacturer of agricultural machinery, New Holland is a key player in the British farming community, a community to which the honeybee contributes an estimated £200 million each year. If the honeybees are in crisis, then it won’t be long before the agricultural industry is affected too. New Holland already strives to be at the forefront of green technology and sees its work with the BBKA as a very important extension of its environmental policy. This is a logical step for New Holland whose products are used to harvest crops such as oilseed rape and fruit and whose customers rely greatly on the honeybees for their livelihood.    
  Why has New Holland and the BBKA joined forces?  
  Together New Holland and the BBKA can highlight the plight of the honeybee amongst farmers, land-owners, fruit growers and contractors. New Holland will be supporting the BBKA as it educates the public about the importance of honeybees and the crisis they face. As a corporate member of the BBKA, New Holland want to work with the charity to help them find a solution. It will also be using its extensive dealer network and customer base at key exhibitions, Fruit and Agricultural shows, like LAMMA, to highlight the crisis    
  What can farmers do to help?  
  Farmers, growers and gardeners can provide apiary sites and help to improve the habitat by leaving margins and planning bee friendly trees, shrubs and annuals.    
  What else needs to be done?  
  The BBKA estimates that at least £8 million pounds over the next five years is what is needed to properly fund the vital research to find out what is killing our honeybees and find solutions to the problem. The Government and other organisations have reacted to the call already, but the money they’ve allocated for research is spread thinly. More funds are needed to focus on our country’s key economic pollinator – the honeybee.  

For further information please visit www.britishbee.org.uk