Roots Beverage Co

Biosphere Partners' bee health study

Jamie Blair, founder of Biosphere Partner Roots Beverage Co - creator of honey-based drinks - writes about a project to further delve into the health of the bee.

The Isle of Man is the perfect place for both people and nature. It’s a unique biosphere in that it is the only whole nation to have achieved this status.

From Manx Loaghtan lamb to the Manx cat and queen scallops. From the oldest continuous parliament in the world to the TT races, the relationship between nature and man is strong.

The particular relationship that I have a passion for is between the Manx bee and bee keeper.

The importance of improving and nurturing our bee population on Island is recognised by EU law which makes it illegal to import bees because of our Varroa mite-free status.

Varroa is a parasite which effects the health of the honey bee and effects a large proportion of the world's bee population.

There are communities such as the Manx Bee Improvement Group and the Isle of Man Bee Keepers' Federation which provides training for budding beekeepers and helps to encourage the growth of our bees here on the Isle of Man, highlighting a strong relationship between people and nature.

Recently Dr Rachel Glover, of fellow Biosphere Partner Taxa Genomics, and I, with the support of yet another Biosphere Partner, Microgaming, have been looking at the DNA of the bacteria found in side the gut of the bee and the DNA of the bacteria found within the hive.

We collected bees from multiple hives around the Island and took the samples to Rachel’s lab where they are being processed.

We hope to have some results in due course but with the nature of science, anything could happen. We hope these results will emphasise the good health of our bees on the Island.

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