Scilly’s Bees Given Clean Bill Of Health

Adam Vevers

Scilly’s bees have had a clean bill of health by the Man from the Ministry.

Adam Vevers from the Food and Environmental Research Agency has been checking out colonies on all the islands. He is 1 of 70 bee inspectors in the UK and has powers of entry if there is a disease issue.

Mainland hives have been wiped out by the varroa mite and there are other viruses he’s been checking for, but none have been found here. Adam says he can tell if there’s a problem just from looking at the bees and he’s found no trace of the mite in any of the hives tested.

But Adam is worried that our bee stocks could be jeopardised by visiting yachtsmen, particularly from America, who may be carrying small hive beetles in fruit. These are a notifiable pest in Europe.

Beekeeping has become quite trendy on the mainland but Adam says it hasn’t expanded so much here. He says reports from older residents suggest that there used to be a lot of hives on St Mary’s and St Agnes, and he recommends talking to an experienced beekeeper if you’re thinking of starting.

And apparently our Scilly bees have very positive characteristic – Adam described them as “lovely and gentle”. And he says they’re working hard with all the heather in bloom on the islands, which he thinks that’s why Scilly honey is some of the best that he’s tasted.