Andrew Mitchell MP has met members of the Sutton Coldfield and North Birmingham Branch of the Warwickshire Beekeepers Association at their Apiary in Sutton Park to discuss how Sutton’s bees are surviving.
Mr Mitchell received an important update on Colony Collapse Disorder which two years ago saw Sutton’s Apiary lose 30 per cent of its bees. Andrew heard that this year, levels have returned to the national average of only 2 – 3 per cent being lost to the phenomenon.
Three years ago Mr Mitchell met with the beekeepers to listen to their concerns about Colony Collapse Disorder and promoted a House of Commons motion in support of the need for Bee Health Research, encouraging the Government to take action to prevent further decline.
Andrew heard from Apiary Manager Bernard Diaper, who said the Sutton Beekeepers had had a good year so far with a bountiful honey crop expected throughout the summer. Bernard, who has been teaching at Sutton’s Apiary for 35 years, also co-ordinates swarm collection for the branch. Donations from grateful members of the public for this service last year raised £2,000 which was donated to two charities: ‘Bees for Development’ and ‘Bees Abroad’ – global charities that encourage beekeeping as an effective way for the world’s poorest to strengthen their livelihoods and fight poverty.
Sutton’s beekeepers meet regularly during the summer at the apiary, where up to 50 members attend weekly. Honey produced in the apiary is sold at the Park’s Visitor Centre.
Andrew Mitchell MP said, “I was extremely pleased to hear how Sutton’s bee population is on the up again. I am sure many of my constituents will soon be enjoying the fruits of their labour!
“Many thanks to Sutton’s Beekeepers and particularly Bernard Diaper who this year marks his 35th anniversary at Sutton Apiary.”
Photo: Andrew Mitchell MP with members of the Sutton Coldfield and North Birmingham Branch of the Warwickshire Beekeepers Association.