British Beekeepers Concerned About Pesticides

The British Beekeepers Association (BBKA) has previously been known for its controversial stance on neonicotinoids (1), and pesticides in general, although this does not necessarily reflect on the members itself, or even all of the board members.  But the previous stance of the BBKA might lead people to assume that beekeepers in Britain are therefore not worried about pesticides, but this really is not the case.  

Survey of British Beekeepers- Attitudes to Pesticides

However a survey suggests that a large percentage of beekeepers are concerned about pesticides.  Here are some key findings:

  • 67.71% of British beekeepers are extremely concerned about pesticides in the environment and a further 28.83% are very concerned.
  • 93.99% of British beekeepers said the BBKA should ‘represent my concerns about pesticides
  • 86.17% of British beekeepers said it is time for the BBKA members to allowed to vote on how the BBKA represents them over neonicotinoids.
  • 61.48% of British beekeepers said the BBKA had not done enough to address the neonicotinoids issue.
  • 85.11% of British beekeepers said they were very unhappy that the BBKA had not supported the temporary neonicotinoid ban*

Last year,  winter colony losses were as high as 52% in England. Nobody can blame the weather.  We had a decent summer and a mild winter.  Here is a record of the colony losses:

Region In England

Percentage of Winter Colony Losses 2012-13



North East




South East


South West






You can take a look at the survey on the link beekeeper survey here (opens a new window).

*although to be fair, it is more of a temporary restriction to some neonicotinoids in some uses, and not a temporary ban on all neonicotinoids for all uses.  

So what next?  We'll have to wait and see.


(1) For example, in  January 2011,  Mike McCarthy in The Independent newspaper, wrote that the:  "BBKA oligarchy has buried the truth in its cosy relationship with the pesticide lobby" Source:

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