Bees

Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs written question – answered on 30th January 2019.

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Photo of Caroline Lucas Caroline Lucas Green, Brighton, Pavilion

To ask the Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, whether an assessment has been made by the National Bee Unit on the risks associated with queen bee inbreeding in commercial bee-keeping operations; and if he will make a statement.

Photo of Therese Coffey Therese Coffey The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs

The National Bee Unit (NBU) has not assessed the risks associated with queen bee inbreeding in commercial bee-keeping operations. However, the NBU and Defra officials have regular contact with commercial beekeepers. These bee farmers have not raised queen inbreeding as an area of concern. Most beekeeping operations do allow wild mating so queens cross-breeding with drones from other local colonies does occur naturally. In commercial operations, queens displaying symptoms of inbreeding would be replaced for economic reasons.

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