A British beekeeper who is trying to bring 15 million baby bees into the UK has reportedly been told that the bees will be seized and burned because of post-Brexit laws. According to a local media report, Managing Director at Bee Equipment, Patrick Murfet wants to import 15 million baby Italian bees for his Kent business and to help British farmers pollinate valuable crops. This comes after the United Kingdom left the EU's single market and bringing certain types of bees into the country was banned.
According to the new rules in the UK, only queen bees can be imported into Great Britain, rather than colonies and packages of bees. Owing to this, Patrick Murfet had earlier tried to get his bees imported via Northern Ireland, in a bid to avoid the import ban, but has now been warned that his bees may be destroyed. Reacting to this warning, Murfet said that he is a passionate beekeeper and has been in this practice for 20 years. He said that is a monumentally stupid situation for a country supposed to be standing on its own two feet and exporting around the world.
Before Brexit, Murfet used to import a large number of bees from breeders in Italy, where the climate is warmer. Informing that he has already paid a deposit of about £20,000 for the bees, the professional beekeeper said that he stands to lose nearly £100,000 in costs alone if he cannot bring them into the country. Asserting that fewer honeybees mean less pollination, less top fruits and more imports, he said that so far the department has overseen a policy whereby the UK is only one of three countries in Europe to see a decline in bee colonies. Murfet is now appealing to the government to help clarify the rules and make future imports possible.