A boost in funding from Defra to help safeguard the nation’s bees and to deliver more research into their health has been announced by the Environment Secretary Hilary Benn. He has pledged nearly £2.3 million over the next two years to support the work of the National Bee Unit in its efforts to help England’s beekeepers deal with the problems facing their bee colonies. This will include work on identifying all those who keep bees and on providing expert advice to them on tackling pests and diseases and on the application of good husbandry. In addition, says Mr Benn, Defra will put an extra £400,000 towards bee health research every year for the next five years. Together the package totals some £4.3 million. Over the last two years Britain’s bee colonies have suffered significant losses due to a combination of issues including pesticide poisoning, the weather (two poor,wet summers), the varroa mite, and other unknown factors requiring further investigation by researchers. Albert Einstein once said that if bees disappeared from the face of the earth, “man would have only four years of life left”.