The escalating bee problem has been well documented of late and. at long last, something tangible is being done on the Hebridean islands of Colonsay and Oronsay. From January on, the islands will become havens for the British black honeybee (Apis mellifera mellifera) making it an offence to keep any other species. It is hoped that this will help preserve the honeybee and the situation will be closely monitored. 

Whilst climate change and new pesticides have contributed greatly to the decreasing bee numbers, the varroa mite is also a huge threat to bee colonies. Colonsay and Oronsay do claim a decent sized bee population with 'around 50 colonies' on the islands. The islands thus present an ideal opportunity to carry out conservation work and could easily be transplanted elsewhere in the UK. 

Protecting the UK's native species is something which has become increasingly significant. Declining numbers of Britain's native wildlife has pushed governments into action and the honeybee is no different. Facing competition from foreign species it will be an uphill battle but the success of this reservation will be key. 

Read more on The Herald Scotland.

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