Why your practice should become bee friendly

03 April 2019, at 9:30am

Practices can work with the British Bee Veterinary Association to support bee populations and encourage clients to get involved with local wildlife initiatives

The British Bee Veterinary Association (BBVA) was formed almost four years ago and continues to successfully recruit veterinary practices to help our struggling bee population.

Increasing concerns over bee sustainability and threats to their population – both manmade and natural – together with growing awareness in recent years of the importance of bees to the food chain, led to the creation of the BBVA. By emphasising the critical environmental importance of bees and highlighting the significant threats they face, the BBVA seeks to encourage change by illustrating the small things that can make a big impact.

One such example is the “Bee-Friendly Practice” initiative, supported by Agria Pet Insurance for the second year, which encourages veterinary practices to extend their creature care beyond the clinic door – by planting bee-friendly plots, window boxes or containers to provide extra food for bees. Practices can increase their involvement by joining the BBVA, for which they will receive a practice pack filled with leaflets, posters, window stickers and a garden sign to promote their “Bee Friendly” status, while encouraging clients to join in too.

The importance and plight of bees

We depend on pollination from bees for a third of the foods we eat. And, as well as the vital role bees play in pollinating so many of our foods, honey gives us an exceptional antibacterial product. However, it takes the nectar from up to an incredible two million flowers to make just 500g of honey. A shortage of pollen is one of the most significant problems bees face, with the average colony requiring up to 30kg of pollen per year: the equivalent weight of two large bags of dog food.

The three key threats to our bee populations are:

  1. Reduction in suitable habitat and wild flora.
  2. Pesticides and agrochemical use.
  3. The devastating effect of a parasite, the Varroa mite, which is increasingly resistant to miticides, on honey-bees.

Becoming a member of BBVA is a crucial step towards offering tangible help to the long-term outlook of bees, by providing funding for research and ongoing education. It also offers vets interested in bee health and management ways to keep abreast of the latest developments in bee disease, science and husbandry, with regular meetings and events.

Supporting the Bee-Friendly practice initiative aligns closely with Agria’s origins. Agria’s first policy was written back in 1890 by Claes Virgin, whose philosophy centred around the importance of animal–owner relationships and a secure future for animal and man. Agria Pet Insurance has pledged ongoing support to help the BBVA achieve its objectives within the veterinary industry.

President of the BBVA, John Hill, believes in a collaborative approach to making the scheme a success: “Agria Pet Insurance is continuing to give great support to the BBVA in our campaign to help practices become ‘Bee Friendly’. Bees are very much in the public’s awareness and there is already great momentum in wanting to help them in what-ever way they can. We want to contact as many practices as possible to help spread the message that bees need flowers for food and habitat to survive.”

To find out more about the BBVA and how your practice can get involved, click here.

For further information about how Agria Pet Insurance supports veterinary practices, please visit their website or call: 03330 30 83 90