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Plan Bee - please watch film and send your comments

 
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biobee
Site Admin


Joined: 14 Jun 2007
Posts: 1055
Location: UK, England, S. Devon

PostPosted: Wed Apr 22, 2009 1:13 pm    Post subject: Plan Bee - please watch film and send your comments Reply with quote

The Co-Op have just released a short film

...and a longer one 15-minutes long about the state of bees in the UK.

I fully support what the Co-op are doing, but the one weakness of their approach is that they appear to be unaware of the growing 'natural beekeeping' movement, which we are spearheading here. Their videos are full of standard framed hives - no sign of a TBH anywhere - and there is not much attention given to 'organic' /chemical-free beekeeping.

Could I ask you please to email the Plan Bee people and let them know that there is another way to keep bees - it will be much more powerful if lots of people say the same sort of thing - but use your own words.

As a bonus, you will get a free packet of seeds if you are one of the first 100 to comment on the films - use this form to contact them.

Here's what I said:

Excellent - just what is needed. I have posted a notice about them on our forum at http://www.biobees.com

Just one thing - I noticed that you point people in the direction of the BBKA, which is fine, but you must also know that they do not support your stance against pesticides - in fact they accept endorement money from Bayer in return for the use of the BBKA label on some of Bayer's pyrethroid products. They have also failed to criticize the use of neo-nicotinoids, even after the catastrophe in Germany last May.

I wonder if you could offer our site as alternative, chemical-free approach to beekeeping, which may appeal more to your members. We have over 1000 members who are commited to 'natural beekeeping' and we are currently discussing the formation of the Natural Bee Keeping Association.
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Rupert
Silver Bee


Joined: 22 Jul 2008
Posts: 629
Location: France, Tarn-et-Garonne, Realville,

PostPosted: Wed Apr 22, 2009 2:25 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Done.
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Brosville
Silver Bee


Joined: 02 Nov 2008
Posts: 839
Location: UK, E. Sussex

PostPosted: Wed Apr 22, 2009 7:14 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Done! Very Happy
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FollowMeChaps
Golden Bee


Joined: 23 Jun 2008
Posts: 1554
Location: North Somerset, SW UK

PostPosted: Thu Apr 23, 2009 12:11 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Me too
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John
Scout Bee


Joined: 08 Mar 2008
Posts: 270
Location: England / London & Kent

PostPosted: Tue May 05, 2009 3:11 pm    Post subject: coop film Reply with quote

Replied to the form too.
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PennyandDave
House Bee


Joined: 27 Jun 2009
Posts: 11
Location: UK, Lichfield, Staffordshire

PostPosted: Fri Aug 07, 2009 8:34 am    Post subject: The Co-op Reply with quote

Done....and this is what I wrote:

I am a very strong supporter of the Co-op, I shop with you and I bank with you and I believe that all businesses should follow your ethical business model. As a beekeeper I am delighted to have the Co-op helping us to save the honeybee and the film is a most valuable contribution. However, as somebody who is relatively new to beekeeping, I have an open mind about the ways we keep bees and acknowledging the dedication and commitment of the BBKA, we need to look at other ways too. Bill Turnbull sums it up in the film when he says we need to turn back to basics. Beekeeping has primarily developed ways of making it easier for man to take honey from the hive and the national hive is currently the favoured option, but its success relies on a lot of interference by the beekeeper. There is no mention in your film of Top Bar Hives, which are used by 'natural beekeepers' and are based on the design of a natural hive, requiring very little interference. It is a growing movement across the globe and should be represented in the film. By going back to basics we give the bee its best chance of survival. Very Happy
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TomP
Nurse Bee


Joined: 26 Feb 2011
Posts: 28
Location: Aurora, Colorado, USA

PostPosted: Sat Mar 12, 2011 3:27 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hi BioBee,

It has been almost 2 years since you posted this. Do you know how is the Co-Op doing and what they have accomplished in the time between then and now? Have they looked at all at the natural beekeeping alternatives?
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biobee
Site Admin


Joined: 14 Jun 2007
Posts: 1055
Location: UK, England, S. Devon

PostPosted: Sat Mar 12, 2011 11:29 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

TomP wrote:
Hi BioBee,

It has been almost 2 years since you posted this. Do you know how is the Co-Op doing and what they have accomplished in the time between then and now? Have they looked at all at the natural beekeeping alternatives?


All I know is that the Co-op appears to have chosen the conventional route and is sponsoring the training of beekeepers using Nationals.

I have also heard that they are buying in imported packages, but I have yet to get confirmation of this.
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biobee
Site Admin


Joined: 14 Jun 2007
Posts: 1055
Location: UK, England, S. Devon

PostPosted: Sat Mar 12, 2011 11:49 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Letter just sent:

I wonder if you could clear up some further information that has come my way on this issue of importing bees.

Can you confirm or deny that the Co-op has ordered a number of packages/nucs of bees from a dealer - possibly in Gloucestershire - which will be imported from New Zealand or Australia? I have been given a figure of 600 that appear to have been ordered.

I really want to support your efforts - even though you seem to have chosen to go down the road of conventional, rather than 'natural' beekeeping (I have already hosted three showings of 'Vanishing of the Bees') - but I need to know exactly what it is I am supporting.

My forum has nearly 5,000 members and my mailing list is over 7,000: these are people who have supported me and looked to me for reliable information. I would like to be able to telll them that the Co-Op would not endanger the British bee population by sponsoring the mass importation of bees from countries that have known problems with viruses and exotic parasites. I am sure you are aware of the potential threats from Tropilelaps and Small Hive Beetle, among others.

So, please reassure me that the information I have been given is untrue, and that you will only use locally adapted stock for supply to your trainees.

Regards
Phil Chandler
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TomP
Nurse Bee


Joined: 26 Feb 2011
Posts: 28
Location: Aurora, Colorado, USA

PostPosted: Sun Mar 13, 2011 5:14 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks for the update, I look forward to hearing (reading) their response.
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bilbehr
Silver Bee


Joined: 24 Jan 2010
Posts: 531
Location: USA, South Georgia, Albany

PostPosted: Sun Mar 13, 2011 7:02 am    Post subject: Better Late than... Reply with quote

I watched the films, sent a reply--you still can. But, - - no flower packet. Sigh...

Bill
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biobee
Site Admin


Joined: 14 Jun 2007
Posts: 1055
Location: UK, England, S. Devon

PostPosted: Mon Mar 14, 2011 9:03 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Response from Co-Op today:

Thanks for your enquiry into our Bee Keeping project at Down Ampney
(Gloucestershire) and Tillington (Herefordshire). We will shortly be
announcing details of the project publically.

The Co-operative is working in partnership with Denrosa Honey to introduce 600 hives to its farms in Gloucestershire and Herefordshire.

The bees are being sourced by Murray McGregor (MD of Denrosa), one of the UK's largest, and most experienced bee keepers. Due to the lack of availability of native British black bees, the queens, of north European origin, are being imported from New Zealand.

All the equipment for the new hives is being sourced as new and the highest standards of biosecurity will be practiced. The bees will be rigorously inspected at source and a stringent licensing and export certification scheme in place. The bees are then inspected again on installation. A full sampling and analysis will be done on all the imported units at the appropriate UK lab. We have invited the local bee inspectorate to work with us from day one, and are working with a former bee inspector throughout the set-up process.

We are actively supporting the increase in numbers of native British black
bees through our work with the Bee Improvement and Bee Breeders ssociation (BIBBA) to map locations of the native British bee (apis mellifera mellifera) and breed from confirmed native colonies. Initial results of this project are expected later in the year. In addition, we are supporting pollinators through the giveaway of wildflower seeds and undertaking trials on our farms to grow wildflowers in field margins.

The Co-operative is proud to support British bees, and bee keepers, and will be inviting local associations and school children on to the farm to visit
the hives and learn more about them. We already have visits organised with local bee keepers associations in Herefordshire, as well as bee farmers and other interested members of the community.
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DaisyJane
Foraging Bee


Joined: 25 Aug 2009
Posts: 241
Location: County Waterford, Ireland

PostPosted: Mon Mar 14, 2011 9:37 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Do I read this right? Have they confirmed what you feared most, Phil?

Wouldn't 600 hives in one region place an unnatural strain on forage?

And why do the words rigorously inspected give me a chill?
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FollowMeChaps
Golden Bee


Joined: 23 Jun 2008
Posts: 1554
Location: North Somerset, SW UK

PostPosted: Mon Mar 14, 2011 9:42 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Just a thought - all UK users can join the Co-op as members in any Co-op branch. As members we can then write to them and point out that while we applaud most of what they are doing, they are wrong on importing bees, not promoting natural beekeeping and any other issues. As members we carry weight in co-operative.

Is this a good idea Phil? If so can you draft a template letter which we can all sign or adapt?
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biobee
Site Admin


Joined: 14 Jun 2007
Posts: 1055
Location: UK, England, S. Devon

PostPosted: Mon Mar 14, 2011 12:03 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

While I do not like the idea of all those queens being imported, they do seem to be taking biosecurity seriously, which was my main worry.

I will see if I can arrange a visit to one of their sites to check it out more thoroughly.
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Friar Tuck
House Bee


Joined: 02 Mar 2011
Posts: 14
Location: Devizes, Wiltshire, England

PostPosted: Wed Mar 30, 2011 6:39 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

biobee wrote:
Letter just sent:

My forum has nearly 5,000 members and my mailing list is over 7,000:


would you be willing to point your members in the direction of our facebook campaign as our formal petition can not be filed yet.

we would also be very happy for members to post content about Natural Beekeeping, TBH and low-cost, low-impact, sustainable beekeeping for everyone


Many Thanks

FT

edit:

i have just seen the link to FB on the top banner thanks very much Phil Wink But we would still like content of TBH, pics, info etc as i'm still waiting for the glue to dry on my TBH
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STOP IMPORTING BEES INTO THE UK
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spenbroc
Scout Bee


Joined: 28 Jun 2009
Posts: 258
Location: UK, Wales, Pembrokeshire, Pembroke

PostPosted: Wed Mar 30, 2011 8:49 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

biobee wrote:
While I do not like the idea of all those queens being imported, they do seem to be taking biosecurity seriously, which was my main worry.

I will see if I can arrange a visit to one of their sites to check it out more thoroughly.


I wrote to Co-op ref these NZ queen bee imports and today had this reply from Tom Foynes of Customer Relations:

Dear Mr Moore

Thanks for your enquiry into our Bee Keeping project at Down Ampney (Gloucestershire) and Tillington (Herefordshire). We will shortly be announcing details of the project publically.

The Co-operative is working in partnership with Denrosa Honey to introduce 600 hives to its farms in Gloucestershire and Herefordshire.

The bees are being sourced by Murray McGregor (MD of Denrosa), one of the UK’s largest, and most experienced bee keepers. Due to the lack of availability of native British black bees, the queens, of north European origin, are being imported from New Zealand.

All the equipment for the new hives is being sourced as new and the highest standards of biosecurity will be practiced. The bees will be rigorously inspected at source and a stringent licensing and export certification scheme in place. The bees are then inspected again on installation. A full sampling and analysis will be done on all the imported units at the appropriate UK lab. We have invited the local bee inspectorate to work with us from day one, and are working with a former bee inspector throughout the set-up process.

We are actively supporting the increase in numbers of native British black bees through our work with the Bee Improvement and Bee Breeders Association (BIBBA) to map locations of the native British bee (apis mellifera mellifera) and breed from confirmed native colonies. Initial results of this project are expected later in the year. In addition, we are supporting pollinators through the giveaway of wildflower seeds and undertaking trials on our farms to grow wildflowers in field margins.

The Co-operative is proud to support British bees, and bee keepers, and will be inviting local associations and school children on to the farm to visit the hives and learn more about them. We already have visits organised with local bee keepers associations in Herefordshire, as well as bee farmers and other interested members of the community.

I hope you have found this information useful but if I can be of any further assistance please do not hesitate to contact me.

Yours sincerely

Tom Foynes


Looks to me as though they are taking this project very seriously and have put care for our 'native' bee very much the fore.

Jon
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spenbroc
Scout Bee


Joined: 28 Jun 2009
Posts: 258
Location: UK, Wales, Pembrokeshire, Pembroke

PostPosted: Wed Mar 30, 2011 9:13 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Ooops! Sorry guys and gals - hadn't looked back far enough to see that Phil had posted his copy of the reply from Co-op!
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FollowMeChaps
Golden Bee


Joined: 23 Jun 2008
Posts: 1554
Location: North Somerset, SW UK

PostPosted: Thu Mar 31, 2011 7:27 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

spenbroc wrote:
.....The Co-operative is proud to support British bees, and bee keepers, and will be inviting local associations and school children on to the farm to visit the hives and learn more about them.....

I take it that you will be responding to ensure that he includes Natural Beekeepers in this invitation - you may need to point out than many don't belong to Associations and have their own groups and networks.
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Gareth
Wise Bee


Joined: 29 Oct 2008
Posts: 3060
Location: UK, England, Cotswolds

PostPosted: Thu Mar 31, 2011 12:01 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

FollowMeChaps wrote:
spenbroc wrote:
.....The Co-operative is proud to support British bees, and bee keepers, and will be inviting local associations and school children on to the farm to visit the hives and learn more about them.....

I take it that you will be responding to ensure that he includes Natural Beekeepers in this invitation - you may need to point out than many don't belong to Associations and have their own groups and networks.


Moreover, the colonies in question are in polystyrene hives, have clipped queens, are inspected in detail every 10 days (to prevent swarming) and are generally under the most intensively managed situation that you will find in UK beekeeping. Akin to highly intensive dairy or egg production. Not the best introduction to beekeeping if the aim is to show that there is another way.
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spenbroc
Scout Bee


Joined: 28 Jun 2009
Posts: 258
Location: UK, Wales, Pembrokeshire, Pembroke

PostPosted: Thu Mar 31, 2011 1:11 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

FollowMeChaps wrote:
spenbroc wrote:
.....The Co-operative is proud to support British bees, and bee keepers, and will be inviting local associations and school children on to the farm to visit the hives and learn more about them.....


That is a quote taken from the text of the reply I had from Co-op - not my words!

FollowMeChaps wrote:
I take it that you will be responding to ensure that he includes Natural Beekeepers in this invitation - you may need to point out than many don't belong to Associations and have their own groups and networks.


I have no plan to visit an intensive honey enterprise but I'm sure they will respond positively to a request from any interested party.
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RectoryGarden
Scout Bee


Joined: 21 Apr 2009
Posts: 277
Location: UK, North Somerset

PostPosted: Thu Apr 07, 2011 2:55 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I got the same standard letter as Phil and no reply to my follow up enquiry.

They are clearly acting responsibly regarding the practicalities of how they are intending to implement the project but Gareth's point is the crux - it's a responsibly run battery farm not a bee-friendly endeavour in any way.

We need to find someone at Plan Bee who actually cares about bees rather than marketing.
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