09 Jun 2010 13:39:00.000
Nottingham vet school students are learning about the role they can play in promoting and maintaining the health of our precious but declining honey bee population.
Honey bees are classed as food producing animals and contribute directly to sustainable food production and more broadly, through pollination, to crop production. The National Audit Office has valued the services of honey bees at around £200m a year and warns that large-scale honeybee losses could adversely affect the pollination of strawberries, apples, pears and other crops.
The University of Nottingham’s School of Veterinary Science and Medicine has established five bee hives at its Sutton Bonington site so its year five students gain a working knowledge of bee husbandry and learn how to protect and improve bee health — including the importance of notifiable diseases of honey bees. Their studies build on a talk from DEFRA’s National Bee Unit in Year 4
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Katie Watts, a year five vet school student from Fiskerton in Nottinghamshire, said: “I did not realise the importance of bees or what implications a demise in bee population would have on veterinary public health. It is now clear that vets may begin to have a more substantial role in bee husbandry and health management in the future. The significant threat from exotic diseases, the importance of food security and the increasing number of honey bee colonies being kept by the public is making bee keeping a more prominent area of veterinary medicine, therefore we are pleased to be given some basic knowledge of this field.”
The students learn about regulations concerning honey bees, including food safety controls — such as the regulations on residues in honey from pesticides and medications, veterinary medicines’ controls and the import and export of bees.
Ruth Blunt, lecturer in Applied Entomology and Parasitology said: “We feel it is important that the students appreciate the impact of honeybees on food security, and the regulations that relate to food safety, bee health and disease prevention. By providing students with beekeeping experience we feel that our students will be well placed to understand the specific demands of beekeepers in the UK at a time when beekeeping is under threat.”
There are thought to be 250,000 colonies of honey bees in England and Wales. As beekeepers continue to report unusually high colony losses it is increasingly important that veterinary surgeons have a role to play in promoting and maintaining bee health and food safety.
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Notes to editors
: The University of Nottingham is ranked in the UK's Top 10 and the World's Top 100 universities by the Shanghai Jiao Tong (SJTU) and Times Higher (THE) World University Rankings.
More than 90 per cent of research at The University of Nottingham is of international quality, according to RAE 2008, with almost 60 per cent of all research defined as ‘world-leading’ or ‘internationally excellent’. Research Fortnight analysis of RAE 2008 ranks the University 7th in the UK by research power. In 27 subject areas, the University features in the UK Top Ten, with 14 of those in the Top Five.
The University provides innovative and top quality teaching, undertakes world-changing research, and attracts talented staff and students from 150 nations. Described by The Times as Britain's “only truly global university”, it has invested continuously in award-winning campuses in the United Kingdom, China and Malaysia. Twice since 2003 its research and teaching academics have won Nobel Prizes. The University has won the Queen's Award for Enterprise in both 2006 (International Trade) and 2007 (Innovation — School of Pharmacy), and was named ‘Entrepreneurial University of the Year’ at the Times Higher Education Awards 2008.
Nottingham was designated as a Science City in 2005 in recognition of its rich scientific heritage, industrial base and role as a leading research centre. Nottingham has since embarked on a wide range of business, property, knowledge transfer and educational initiatives (www.science-city.co.uk) in order to build on its growing reputation as an international centre of scientific excellence. The University of Nottingham is a partner in Nottingham: the Science City.