Just recieved this mail from Phil, and thought i'd re-publish it here:
As you are probably aware by now, the British Bee Keepers Association (BBKA) has an arrangement with certain pesticide manufacturers to endorse some of their products as 'bee friendly', despite the fact that they are known to be toxic to bees. They have also failed to make any statement condemning the now widespread use of neonicotinoid pesticides, despite the proven fact that they caused the death of millions of bees in Germany this year, and have done so in Italy and France since the turn of the century.
When making statements to the press, the BBKA seems very reluctant to even mention pesticides as a possible cause of problems to bees, despite massive European evidence to the contrary. BBKA secretary Mike Harris was quoted recently in the Yorkshire Post as saying "...Colony Collapse Disorder was caused by the varroa parasite. Pesticides were a separate problem..." (http://www.yorkshirepost.co.uk/farming-news/Insecticide-ban-plea-to-help.4558542.jp)
Many beekeepers consider that the BBKA's financial relationship with Bayer and Syngenta effectively prevents them from fulfilling their prime function as guardians of the interests of bees and beekeeping.
Now the BBKA appears to be planning to extend its endorsement of bee-killing pesticides, by becoming a rubber-stamping body for Bayer, with no requirement for independent testing - merely a review of the manufacturer's own data. You can read the full text of their proposals here http://www.biobees.com/forum/viewtopic.php?p=13413#13413
Considering that complete severance of financial ties to pesticide manufacturers could be replaced only a £1 increase in membership fees, it seems remarkable that a national body claiming to act in the best interests of its membership would compromise their integrity so readily and so cheaply.
Bayer is one of the most untrustworthy corporations on the planet, with a record that would shame the most hardened criminal (see their Wikipedia entry, just for starters), yet one of the oldest and once respected beekeepers' organizations thinks that 'taking their word for it' is an acceptable way to assess Bayer's toxic products.
We call upon all beekeepers to make their views on this subject known to the BBKA.
You can send them an email using this form http://www.britishbee.org.uk/contact-hq.php
or perhaps you would like to send the BBKA president, Tim Lovett, a personal message? If so, here is his email address - firstname.lastname@example.org
And - just to be fair - my email address is email@example.com
"I see in the near future a crisis approaching that unnerves me and causes me to tremble for the safety of my country. . . . Corporations have been enthroned, an era of corruption in high places will follow, and the money-power of the country will endeavor to prolong its reign by working upon the prejudices of the people until the wealth is aggregated in a few hands and the Republic is destroyed." (Origin unknown, often attributed to Abraham Lincoln)
Fantastic sculpture, and it's great that the Eden Project are raising the profile of the plight of our native bees! Well done guys! Just recieved a package from Bees for Development, containing a short eductional DVD titled 'Dancing with Bees' that the LAAGs can use in presentations (ideal for schools etc). It even has a nano-second piece of footage of a Varroa mite hitching a lift on a bee during the credits at the end! eeeeeeeew! As well as a new book by Jurgen Tautz: 'The Buzz about Bees'. Amazing! just the most scrumptious photography! and hugely informative.