Glasgow & West Scotland

Honeybee sanctuary status for Colonsay and Oransay

Honeybees
Image caption The hardy native Black bee can survive the harsh climate of the Hebridean islands

The islands of Colonsay and Oronsay are to become a native honeybee sanctuary.

A new law will come into effect in January, making it illegal to import any bee other than the Apis mellifera mellifera to the area.

The Hebridean islands have about 50 colonies of the species and the new order aims to protect them from cross-breeding and disease.

The varroa mite, which has devastated bee colonies across the country, has not affected Colonsay or Oronsay.

There are 250 species of bee in the UK consisting of 24 species of bumblebees, 225 specifies solitary bees, but just one honeybee species, the native Black Bee (Apis mellifera mellifera).

The species is much hardier than the the Yellow or Italian Bee (Apis mellifera ligustica), which means the bees can survive the harsh climate of the Inner Hebrides.

The Scottish government granted the order after a public consultation received overwhelming support.

The Bee Keeping (Colonsay and Oronsay) Order 2013 comes into force on 1 January.

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