Somerset Beekeepers’ Association and Yeo Valley are working together to help save pollinators from the threat of highly destructive Asian hornets.
The organic dairy company based in Blagdon has donated more than £3,500 to local beekeepers which will fund county-wide Asian hornet action teams.
The money was raised by visitors to the company’s gardens where hundreds of crocheted bees were displayed among the flowers.The crocheted bees were made by a group of “yarn-bombers” in the village.
Anne Pike, Chairman of Somerset Beekeepers’ Association (SBKA), thanked Yeo Valley for their support.
“One of our roles as a charity is to help protect honeybees and we will be directing these most welcome funds to safeguarding bees and all pollinators against the threat of Asian hornets,” she said.
Asian hornets are a non-native species which is colonising parts of Europe and is responsible for the loss of hundreds of millions of honeybees. Although Asian hornets in the UK have only been recorded on a few occasions, it is feared numbers will inevitably increase.
In the spring, SBKA will monitor for Asian hornets which may have overwintered or been brought into the country from parts of Europe where they thrive. Sightings are reported to the Non-Native Species Secretariat which deploys bee inspectors to find and destroy nests.
Sarah Mead from Yeo Valley said: “It is so important to raise awareness of the imminent danger to our bees and pollinators from the Asian Hornet. Until I met Anne Pike from Somerset Beekeepers Association I had no idea how serious the situation could become.
None of this fundraising would have happened without the fabulous ‘Blagsaey’ yarn-bombers whose swarm of crocheted bees appeared at Yeo Valley Organic garden as if by magic.
"I would like to thank all our visitors who raised an incredible £3,692 for their generosity.”
Anne Pike added: “In the coming months we will be working with Yeo Valley to raise awareness of Asian hornets with their customers and staff. One in three mouthfuls of the food we eat is pollinated by bees and other insects and by coming together like this we will all be helping the county’s bees to continue their invaluable activities.”
To find out more about Asian hornets visit Somerset Beekeepers’ website: https://www.somersetbeekeepers.org.uk/
Notes to editors:
Somerset Beekeepers’ Association is made up of 12 divisions and works to advance the craft of apiculture within its membership and to promote general awareness and understanding of honeybees.
Asian hornets (vespa velutina) are slightly smaller than native European hornets and look like large black wasps with an orange head.
A single Asian hornet can kill 50 bees a day, with a nest containing up to 6,000 workers and 200 queens.
In Jersey, France and large areas of Western Europe they are stripping the environment bare of insects before moving on to prey on managed honeybee colonies.