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Somerset's bee population affected by floods

Shrill Carder Bee Credit: ITV West Country

The population of a rare bumblebee found in Somerset may have been badly affected by this year's floods.

Conservationists are worried that the number of Shrill Carder Bees in the region are decreasing. The bees get their name from the way they make a high pitched sound when moving their muscles.

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Scientists call for more control over bee imports

Scientists have today called for greater controls on the importing of Bumble Bees after tests found more than three quarters were carrying parasites that can wipe out colonies.

Government bee inspectors are out most days examining hives for signs of disease and the presence of the Varroa Mite which in part destroyed up to 40% of South West hives last year.


Bees under threat from wet summer

The West Country's bee population is under threat from the effects of the wet summer.

The government's National Bee Unit has advised beekeepers of a starvation risk and is encouraging them to leave out emergency supplies of sugar and syrup.

Bees are under threat from a wet summer Credit: PA

Staple crops that bees feed on such as fruit blossom have been damaged by heavy rainfall in May and June.

Persistent rain can also prevent honey bees from being able to fly.

Last winter colony numbers in England also fell by 16.2%. If numbers continue to dwindle it could have a huge impact on the wider food chain.

The British Beekeepers Association says: "Honey bees are important pollinators and we rely heavily on them for much of the food that is on our plate in one way or another. All sorts of crops are pollinated by honey bees, including fruit and many vegetables."