Time called on non-native bee imports

Class licence permitting release of imported bumblebees will not being renewed after expiration.

Bumblebees: no licence renewal  - image: Seelensturm
Bumblebees: no licence renewal - image: Seelensturm

Natural England has confirmed that it will no longer permit imports and sales of non-native bumblebees as crop pollinators, following a consultation that concluded in September.

The class licence that permits their release is not being renewed after it expires at the end of this month.

An amended class licence "will only permit the release of non-native insects in circumstances where growers, researchers and pollination service providers cannot source commercial native bumblebees in sufficient quantities and at the appropriate times to ensure crop pollination", the Government agency said.

Tomato Growers Association technical committee member Derek Hargreaves said the ban emerged as a concern at the committee's meeting last week.

"The problem is that the hives are only produced by two companies on the continent and they will have to raise the UK subspecies (Bombus terrestris ssp. audax) solely for the UK market. They won't have huge reserves so if you need more you may have to wait 20 weeks for the production cycle to complete."

Meanwhile, the option of applying for a site-specific licence to import non-native bees "would still probably take four-to-six weeks to sort out", he suggested.

Hargreaves added that audax "also appears a bit more work-shy than its European counterparts".

However, conservation charity Buglife campaigns officer Vanessa Amaral-Rogers welcomed the move. She said escapes of non-native subspecies "could have disastrous effects". But she added: "We still need to address the risk of diseases coming in from other countries."

A UK study published last year found that more than three-quarters of the commercial bumblebee colonies contained microbial parasites on the bees and in their pollen food, despite the producers concerned claiming they were parasite-free.

Macro-Mite Replacement predatory mite

Insect pollinator and predator supplier Koppert has said it will withdraw its Entomite-A, the predatory soil mite Gaeolaelaps aculeifer, and will replacing it with Macro-Mite (Macrocheles robustulus).

As well as combating sciarid fly and thrips, the new mite attacks eggs and caterpillars of Duponchelia fovealis and eggs of the cabbage fly. Macro-Mite is also claimed to establish more quickly in the soil.


Have you registered with us yet?

Register now to enjoy more articles and free email bulletins

Sign up now
Already registered?
Sign in

Before commenting please read our rules for commenting on articles.

If you see a comment you find offensive, you can flag it as inappropriate. In the top right-hand corner of an individual comment, you will see 'flag as inappropriate'. Clicking this prompts us to review the comment. For further information see our rules for commenting on articles.

comments powered by Disqus

Read These Next

Can UK fresh produce come out of Brexit ahead?

Can UK fresh produce come out of Brexit ahead?

UK production horticulture can become more profitable under one possible Brexit scenario, while other more drastic scenarios will lead to only minor losses in profitability, in contrast to other farming sectors, according to a new report by levy body AHDB with Agra CEAS Consulting.

Business Planning - Staff are your greatest asset

Business Planning - Staff are your greatest asset

An effective strategy to retain staff is the best way for any business to avoid a potential recruitment crisis, Neville Stein advises.

How should agri-tech research for fresh produce function in a post-Brexit UK?

How should agri-tech research for fresh produce function in a post-Brexit UK?

One area affected by the uncertainty around Brexit will be the ongoing development of agricultural technology, seen by many as essential to retain Britain's productivity and competitiveness in fresh produce along with other farming sectors.


Follow us on:
  • Facebook
  • LinkedIn
  • Twitter
  • Google +
Horticulture Jobs
More Horticulture Jobs

Pest & Disease Tracker bulletin 

The latest pest and disease alerts, how to treat them, plus EAMU updates, sent direct to your inbox.

Sign up here

Professor Geoffrey Dixon

GreenGene International chair Geoff Dixon on the business of fresh produce production
 

Read Professor Geoffrey Dixon