Harrogate firm in the ‘buzzness’ of beekeeping

Erika Grzebisz and Amy Evans (s).

Erika Grzebisz and Amy Evans (s).

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An environmental and consumer safety research firm which has its European base in Harrogate is taking a keen interest in bees.

Following concerns throughout Europe and the US about declining bee populations, there is a requirement for increased data collection to confirm non-adverse effects of products on bees.

Now, Smithers Viscient’s staff have recently finished a nine-month bee-keeping course with Harrogate and Ripon Beekeepers’ Association to ensure the company’s two million bees are well looked after.

The bees are hived in excess of 350 wooden boxes across North America and United Kingdom.

Product Developing Team (PDT) business manager, Kirsty-Jo Muddiman explains: “As a company we’ve been looking after bees for over 20 years.

“Current honeybee populations and their recently reported decline is an area of both scientific interest and interest to the general public, both in the US and UK.

“As pesticide use becomes more regulated globally, and our knowledge of pesticide-bee interactions expands, manufacturers are required to undertake an increasing number, and an increasing level of complexity of safety testing with a focus on bees.

“Our investment is about ensuring the welfare of our honeybee colonies and the safety of our clients’ products, whilst supporting agriculture which is able to deliver to an increasing market of citizens.”

Three members of the Smithers Viscient’s UK’s team have undertaken the nine-month beekeeping course with Harrogate & Ripon Beekeepers’ Association, Erika Grzebisz, Amy Evans and business manager Kirsty-Jo Muddiman.

Today more than twenty five per cent of native UK species of bees are listed as endangered, or on the brink of extinction.