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The Maltese Beekeeper Association, which is presided by Stephen Galea, GRTU executive council member, is closely following developments in the sector which emerged after the importation of around 450 nucleus boxes by a foreign investor to Gozo.
These nucleus boxes are claimed to have been imported from France.
However their journey to Malta has also included passage from zones which have already been affected by the small hive beetle. It has been established that there should be no movement of bees through or from areas which have been contaminated by the small hive beetle. It would have been necessary for the transport of the nucleus boxes to have travelled through such contaminated zones since they have been transported from Reggio Calabria and Catania.
The beekeepers greatest concern remains that the excessive quantities of the imported bees will eradicate the species of the indigenous Maltese bee. This occurs because the excessive amounts bring about mating between the imported queen bees and the indigenous bee which will automatically result in altering the species itself and trigger the aggressive streak in the bees. This situation is also alarming as it may have re-introduced the American foulbrood which leads to the destruction of effected boxes. This had occurred in Malta in the past which resulted in such a situation where boxes had to be destroyed, yet it was a limited and contained situation.
The Maltese Beekeeper Association main concern is that of the eventual annihilation of the indigenous Maltese bee. A meeting for Gozitan beekeepers has been held last Tuesday 20thJanuary where these pressing concerns where discussed and it was concluded that some form action is necessary to respond to this impending alarm. A meeting has been called for Thursday 29thJanuary and will be held in Malta since this will develop an issue in Malta as well. During the meeting to be held on Thursday the association will be seeking a way forward to address this situation and voice its concern.
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