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About the Honeybee

(Apis mellifera mellifera)

The author, Vivien Head, describes the honey bee as one of the oldest forms of animal life still in existence from the Neolithic Age, with the oldest bee remains known to exist preserved in a tiny piece of amber believed to be over 80 million years old.  

Man has thought to have interacted with the bee from evidence of a rock painting in Spain, thought to be around 6,000 to 8,000 years old.  The Bible, ancient scrolls of the Orient, the Talmud, the Torah and the Koran all mention the honey bee and the healing food that it produces.  Yet the threat on the survival of bees today has never been so prevalent.  

Pests and diseases must be guarded against.  The most extensive is the Varroa mite, which, because it has such a devastating effect on the economy of beekeeping, it has become known as the ‘Varroa Destructor’.  

Varroa mites are small tick-like parasites that are native to Asia, using the Asian honey bee (Apis cerana) as their host.  However, with the shipping of bees worldwide, there are only a few places left that do not have the mite. The Varroa mite is common in Scotland to the extent that honey bees may die out in this country without the care of the beekeeper.  This emphasises the importance of the need for training new beekeepers.

The links below provide information about the types of plants that are good for pollinators:

Pollen and Nectar Rich Plants for your Garden by Season - Provided by BBKA

RHS Perfect for Pollinators - Garden Plants

RHS Perfect for Pollinators – Wildflowers

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