Whilst honeybees are wonderful for food production or wellbeing, unfortunately, under some circumstances, managed hives can have a harmful effect on local biodiversity. The honeybee is not an endangered species and in NPT we have small populations of endangered wild pollinators, such as the Shrill Carder Bee (Bombus sylvarum). There is increasing concern that declines in wild pollinators may be exacerbated by unnaturally high densities of honeybees, associated with some forms of beekeeping*.
Managed honeybees are known to affect wild pollinators in two main ways: competition for floral resources, and the spread of diseases **. Each hive introduces an extra 35-40,000 honeybees to the area, and therefore beekeepers should create significant floral resources for each hive in order to reduce the pressure on wild bees already present in the locality of the hive.
In order to prevent unnecessary strain on our wild bee populations, we will not be installing bee hives ourselves, or allowing installation of bee hives on council-owned land under the NPT Bee Friendly Scheme. You can read more about honeybees and conservation in the position statement on the Bumblebee Conservation Trust website.
*Roubik 1978, Goulson 2003, Paini 2004, Fürst et al 2014, Geslin et al 2016, Torné-Noguera et al 2016, Cane & Tepedino 2017, Mallinger et al 2017, Geldman & González-Varo 2018, Wojcik et al 2018
** Paini 2004, Van der Spek 2012, Mallinger et al 2017, Kleijn et al 2018