Work to promote the health of Manx honeybees has been recognised in a competition run globally.
The Manx Bee Improvement Group has won a Distinction prize in the Honeybee Health Initiative Awards, run by Vita (Europe) Limited.
Vita – honeybee health specialists with distributors across the world – established the awards to highlight the work of voluntary beekeeping groups to combat health threats to honeybees and publicise good practice.

The awards were open to beekeeping groups of any size, globally, and were adjudicated by an international panel of beekeeping experts.

Launching the awards, Jeremy Owen, Sales Director for Vita Europe, said:

“We never cease to be impressed by the resourcefulness of beekeepers in countering the series of health threats that have put honeybee populations at risk in recent years.”

Entrants were required to submit a 1,000-word article about their work. (The article can be seen here.)

The awards were recently announced at Apimondia 2015, an international apicultural congress, held in South Korea.

The local group won one of just six Distinction prizes – a trophy and equipment to the value of 250 Euros. The competition’s top prize, the Pinnacle prize, went to Devon Agricultural Research Group.

The Manx Bee Improvement Group is a subcommittee of the Isle of Man Beekeepers’ Federation. Judith Cain, then Federation President, said:

‘The article submitted by our Manx Bee Improvement Group has highlighted the work and foresight of Isle of Man beekeepers over the years to keep our bees free from disease. These efforts culminated in February this year when the EU endorsed the ban imposed by the Isle of Man Government back in 1988 on the importation of honeybees and bee products into the Island.

‘I’d like to thank all who contributed to this article and add my congratulations on their successful achievement of a Distinction award.’

Richard Ronan MHK, Minister for Environment, Food and Agriculture, said:

‘I’d like to congratulate the Isle of Man Beekeepers’ Federation and their Manx Bee Improvement Group on receiving a Distinction prize for a very professional submission to the awards.

‘I have been kept closely informed about the development of the honeybee queen breeding programme, and together with Stuart Jaques, Chief Veterinary Officer with the Department of Environment, Food and Agriculture, have twice met chairman Keith Osborn and members of the Manx Bee Improvement Group.

I’ve also met – and would like to thank – advisor to the Manx Bee Improvement Group, Roger Patterson, vice chairman of the Bee Improvement and Bee Breeders’ Association and Trustee of the British Beekeepers Association, who in a voluntary capacity has visited the Island three times this year alone to guide and assist the Group.

‘The Distinction prize is a real credit to our efforts for Manx bees and ultimately, for Manx agriculture.’

The Manx Bee Improvement Group – Keith Osborne, Breeshey Brew, Tony Leadley and Johnny Kipps – have also benefited from the advice and support of the Isle of Man Government’s Bee Inspector, Harry Owens, and the Federation’s Bee Education Officer, Cilla Platt.

Keith said:

“Congratulations to the team on an excellent, very professional article; I’m thrilled at the award of a Distinction prize.

I’d like to pay tribute to those who contributed and worked so hard on the article, including Peter Long, Daren Ward, Roger Patterson, Harry Owens and Stuart Jaques. Special thanks to co-ordinator Johnny Kipps and not least of all, to Alan Smith for his beautiful pictures of Manx honeybees.”

(This article was approved for circulation by the President of the IOM Beekeepers Federation and the Isle of Man Bee Disease Officer.)

2 Responses to Manx Bee Improvement Group wins international Distinction prize

  1. Phil Corlett says:

    Congratulations to ALL the team who worked on this, great news!

  2. Jim Fisher says:

    Very well done all of the team!

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