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“It seems that we have an increasing acreage of pollinated crops at the same time that we are having a decrease in the density of our pollinators; this is creating a pollinator deficit that is of great concern mainly because the quality of diet that we enjoy in the developed world is very largely dependent on honeybee-pollinated plants”

Prof. Keith Delaplane
University of Georgia, USA

As former Chairman and President of the Sussex Beekeepers Association, Ben and his wife Maggi, a former Chairman of the Eastbourne Beekeepers, have been beekeepers since 1984.
Ironically, it was a wasps’ nest in their loft that accidentally introduced them to the world of bees.
The couple now has hives dotted across the East Sussex countryside, unfortunately no longer in their back garden because after 12 years of beekeeping, Maggi had an anaphylactic attack, and is now seriously allergic to bees.
“I don’t handle bees at all nowadays” she says, “I put my finger on a dead bee, and within minutes I felt my throat tightening up”
 It’s very common in beekeeping that the partner becomes allergic to the sting because you’re constantly inhaling the venom from your clothes.
Ben and Maggi regularly sell honey at the Uckfield and Hailsham farmers’ markets, they are very keen to encourage people to view bees in a positive light.
They also provide talks to groups, from children to adults, promoting the importance of bees in the environment, and the benefits of honey.
Membership of the British Beekeepers Association is 24,000 strong, and the Sussex association has 650 members. The association is trying to get funding from the government for more research into the potential threats to bee health.