The Isles of Scilly AONB Partnership in collaboration with Island bee-keepers are working on a range of initiatives to develop and promote honeybee health on the Isles of Scilly.
Honeybees on the the Isles of Scilly are free from the devastating parasitic mite, known as varroa. These mites attack healthy bee colonies at an alarming rate, wiping out resident bees as it spreads. On the mainland, both wild and domestic populations have been decimated. The threat of varroa arriving on Scilly is very real.
The AONB Unit and the Islands’ Bee-keepers are working together to make sure that our vulnerable honeybees are protected and that the threat of varroa is minimised by:
1. Raising awareness at the local and regional level;
2. Purchasing bee-keeping equipment to share amongst the Islands’ bee-keepers. For example, bee-keepers are now able to process locally produced wax rather than introducing potentially contaminated wax from the mainland;
3. Encouraging bee-keepers to share information and knowledge with other UK areas that are also varroa free, such as the Isle of Colonsay off the Scottish coast.
What can you do to help?
We can all help our Islands’ honeybees to remain healthy and to become more resilient by giving them a helping hand, starting in our own gardens.
Plants and flowers that are rich in nectar and pollen will encourage honeybees, as well as other insects, helping to increase local biodiversity.
Plants that are either native or naturalised to Scilly are best because they will grow and mature well. Plants such as Birds Foot Trefoil, Thrift, Echiums, Drosanthemums, clovers and herbs (such as rosemary, thyme and lavender) are all examples of plants that will encourage bees into your garden. Please do not pick, or dig up any wild flowers.
The AONB Partnership have produced a new publication. Bee Alert is designed to highlight, to both local residents and visitors, the importance of Scilly’s disease-free honeybees and the ways in which we can help keep them healthy. To download the Bee Alert leaflet, please click here.
To find out more about this project, please contact the Isles of Scilly AONB Unit.