NIHBS-Letter-re-Bill 24122021 plain text. If you are passionate about protecting our Native Irish Honeybee you may wish to write to your local TD or Senator with regard to the upcoming Bill. Feel free to amend the letter below and add any personal comments of your own.
Dear Public Representative,
I support the Protection of the Native Irish Honey Bee Bill 2021, introduced by Senator Vincent P Martin into Seanad Eireann and endorsed by The Native Irish Honey Bee Society (NIHBS).
This Bill, and the rationale behind it, is backed by science and scientists, both national and international. A ban on the importation of non-native honey bees is supported by the vast majority of Irish beekeepers and by their representative bodies, i.e., FIBKA, IBA, UBKA and INIB.
Because of the Bill’s widespread backing, I write to request your support too.
Here are some important points that might help you better understand the dire situation of Ireland’s unique national biological treasure, the native Irish honey bee, aka Apis mellifera mellifera (Amm):
- The native Irish honey bee is a strain of the dark European honey bee, native to Europe north of the Alps. However, unfortunately it now only exists in very small pockets of mainland Europe. Ireland is the last stronghold of this precious subspecies and is largely recognized as possessing a unique genetic resource needing protection.
- For millennia Amm has adapted to the island’s specific geographic and climactic conditions. They fly at lower temperatures and during light rainfall, swarm less often, are relatively docile, and reliably produce good amounts of honey.
- A survey conducted by the National University of Ireland Galway shows that 90% of all Irish beekeepers work with Amm, including many major commercial operations.
- Yet increasingly native Irish honey bees are being hybridised by imported non-natives, which dilute their adapted genetics. Additionally, the importation of other subspecies poses other threats, namely the potential transmission of foreign pests, pathogens and diseases.
- If a pest like Small Hive Beetles were to piggyback on imported bees into Ireland, it could devastate our native populations as gravely as the Varroa destructor mite has in the past.
- Already our bees suffer enough from natural and industry-wide pressures; to expose them to genetic dilution and transmitted diseases would be tantamount to a death sentence.
- With the backing of Ireland’s major beekeeping associations as well as many existing commercial Amm beekeepers, who have invested in native honey bees and turned consistent profits using them, we are confident there is no need to import honey bees.
- This Bill will protect Amm, ensuring their health, conservation and genetic purity.
As an Irish citizen concerned about the environment, biodiversity, food security, and the threatened status of our native Irish honey bee, I stand against the importation of non-native subspecies into Ireland and support the Protection of the Native Irish Honey Bee Bill 2021.
I encourage you to support the bill too.