asked the Parliamentary Secretary to the Board of Agriculture if he is aware of the severe losses suffered by smallholders owing to the ravages of bee disease; and what steps the Board is taking to assist bee keepers to combat this pest?
Sir A. BOSCAWEN
The Board are aware that British bee keepers have during recent years suffered severe losses owing to the prevalence of disease, and particularly Isle of Wight disease, among bees. With the object of preventing these losses by the discovery of means of combating disease, the Board have established an institute for the study of bees1096W and bee diseases, and at the present time investigations are being carried out both at Oxford and at Cambridge. The Board have, moreover, as a result of inquiries which they made during 1918, satisfied themselves that hybrid bees of Italian and Dutch origin possess a marked resistance to Isle of Wight Disease, and they have accordingly, and with the co-operation of county committees, introduced a Bee Restocking Scheme to establish breeding apiaries for the production of resistant hybrids. In accordance with this scheme they have introduced Dutch stocks and Italian queens, and supplied them at reduced prices to the Committee for bleeding purposes. The scheme is developing satisfactorily, and during 1919, 1,171 hybrid nuclei have been raised from 251 stocks. It is proposed to continue the production of nuclei in the coming year, and it is expected that it will result in the establishment of large numbers of resistant bees. To ensure this result the Board hope to provide for further importation of Italian queens during 1920. The question of introducing legislation with the object of stamping out bee diseases is now under the consideration of the Board.