Did you know that it takes an incredible 2 million flowers to make 500g of honey? And that a third of the foods we eat require pollination?
But that 97% of wild flower meadows in the UK have disappeared, and that honey bees across the world are under threat from a devastating parasite?
Statistics like these have led Agria Pet Insurance to support the British Bee Veterinary Association (BBVA) with a £500 donation to help spread awareness of the problems faced by bees.
The BBVA was formed two years ago in response to an increase in queries to RCVS from both veterinary professionals and the public about bee sustainability. Their aim is to highlight the trouble that bees are in and the critical environmental role they play, and illustrate the small things everyone can do to make a big impact.
The two main issues faced by bees are:
- Reduction in habitat and wild flora
- The devastating effect of the parasite, the Varroa Mite, on honey bees, in particular. However the Varroa Mite has become resistant to the Miticides used to control it, so alternative methods are under constant research
- Pesticides and agrochemical use
So, when it comes to spreading awareness about the plight of the world’s most valuable species, what better place to start than with veterinary practices?
The Bee Friendly Practice initiative has been developed by BBVA to encourage veterinary practices to extend their creature care beyond the clinic door – by planting bee friendly plots, window boxes or containers to provide extra food for bees. Practices can increase their involvement by joining the BBVA, for which they’ll receive a practice pack filled with leaflets, posters, window stickers and a garden sign to promote their ‘Bee Friendly’ status, while encouraging clients to join in.
Becoming a member is a crucial step towards offering tangible help to the long-term outlook of bees, by providing funding for research and ongoing education. It also offers vets interested in bee health and management ways to keep abreast of the latest developments in bee disease, science and husbandry with regular meetings and events.
John Hill, President of the BBVA, says, “The BBVA is very grateful to Agria for kindly supporting our initiative to work with veterinary practices to promote the importance of food for bees and the problems they face. We really appreciate Agria’s backing in helping us to spread this important message.”
Agria’s first policy was written back in 1890 by Claes Virgin, whose philosophy was centred around the importance of animal-owner relationships and a secure future for animal and man. Working with the BBVA demonstrates that this ethos is still alive in Agria, whose Head of Veterinary Business, Janet Hughes, says:
“Agria is absolutely delighted to support the British Bee Veterinary Association. Although here at Agria we only insure cats, dogs and rabbits, we totally understand that every animal has a place in our world and supporting an organisation such as BBVA, which encourages participation in the welfare of our bees and the environment, is something we just had to say yes to.
“I am really looking forward to supporting BBVA in gaining more support from veterinary practices throughout the UK and helping our buzzy friends to survive.”
To find out more about the BBVA and how your practice can get involved, see: www.britishbeevets.com.
For further information about how Agria Pet Insurance supports veterinary practices, please visit: www.agriapet.co.uk/veterinary or call 03330 30 83 90.