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Bee Diseases and Pest Control (Isle of Man) Order 2008 18 July 2008

The Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry have demonstrated their support to the Islands Bee Keepers through the introduction of a new legal order to help prevent the spread of disease through the Islands bee population. The Bee Diseases and Pest Control (Isle of Man) Order 2008 was passed in Tynwald today (15th July 2008).

The Honey bees kept on the Isle of Man have always enjoyed good health whilst the bee population on neighbouring Islands has significantly declined with the spread of new diseases and pests most notably, Varroa. Should the Varroa mite arrive on the Island, it could not be eradicated and would become a chronic cause of disease and reduced production. At the request of the Bee Keepers the Department wishes to support them in their efforts to maintain the health of their hives through the introduction of the new Order.

The Island will be able to apply for additional health guarantees for its bee population by demonstrating the high health status to the European Union. In order to achieve this the Department needs to be able to clearly demonstrate that it has appropriate knowledge of and controls over bee diseases and pests on the Island, which will be done using the powers contained within the Bees Act 1989.

Under the new Order the following new requirements will be placed upon bee keepers:

• Register the extent of their bee keeping

• Keep appropriate records of bee keeping activities including movement of hives and equipment

• Notify the presence or suspicion of the following diseases of bees American Foul Brood and European Foul Brood

• Notify the presence or suspicion of the following pests of bees - Small Hive Beetle (Aethina tumida) and Tropilaelaps mite (Trolipaelaps spp)

• Notify the presence or suspicion of the following pest of bees Varroa (Varroa destructor formerly called jacobsoni)

The Order will enable surveillance of the national swarm to formally establish its health status and will also enable suspicion of existence of disease and notifiable pests to be investigated and controlled in an appropriate way. The Department may declare by notice an area to be an infected area if it is satisfied that a notifiable pest is present.

Minister for Agriculture Phil Gawne MHK said: ‘We are expecting that there will be in the region of 100 – 120 Bee Keepers on the Island who will benefit from this new Order. We are very proud of our thriving bee population on the Island and we hope that this new Order will help to keep disease at bay, protect the hives of local bee keepers and ensure that the biodiversity of our Island is not harmed.’

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