Bee keepers blame sponsorship deal over collapse in numbers

A group of former members have split from the British Bee Keepers Association (BBKA) and criticised its 12-year-sponsorship deal with chemical companies Bayer Crop Sciences and Syngenta who produce pesticides that the group say are harmful to bees. The BBKA, a charity for the last 135 years, receives around £17,500 pounds-a-year in funding for their relationship with the chemical giants. Phil Chandler, a former BBKA member who left the organisation last year and runs website Biobees promoting sustainable and chemical-free bee keeping, said: "This has been going on for years but has only come to light in the last few years. An organisation claiming to work on behalf on bees cannot be endorsing pesticides. Pesticides kill bees, to pretend they do not have effect is ridiculous. A third of UK bee colonies have been lost over the last two years. There is strong evidence that neonicotinoids a class of pesticide first used in agriculture in the mid 1990s at exactly the time when mass bee disappearances started occurring are involved in the deaths. "

Source: Telegraph, 4 May 2010