A consortium of individuals is demanding that the British Bee Keepers Association stops accepting money from pesticide manufacturers and answers questions on why it promoted the use of certain insecticides as ‘bee friendly’.
The group, including bee keepers, farmers, environmentalists and academics, have undersigned an open letter to the BBKA which states that the organisation has taken £17,500 per year since 2001 in return for endorsing four pesticides which are fatal to bees.
The letter acknowledges that the BBKA has now withdrawn its endorsement but says the organisation has not ruled out accepting further funds from the four chemical companies – named as Bayer, Syngenta, BASF and Belchim.
The consortium is demanding that the organisation commits to rejecting any further finance from the four and reveals, among other things, what research it carried out to determine the chemicals were safe for bees; why it did not follow research that presented evidence to the contrary; and whether it will take due diligence in future to ensure similar situations do not arise.
The BBKA – a charity, founded in 1874 which has 19,000 members – has posted a report on its website which gives guidance on bee health challenges and threats.