ENGLAND’S honey bees are still in trouble, according to a new study from the British Beekeepers Association (BBKA).

The BBKA annual study surveyed 900 British beekeepers to establish the impact last winter has had on honey bee colonies. Nationally, colony losses were 14.5 per cent last winter, continuing the declines observed over the last three years.

This year’s loss rose by more than 50 per cent in comparison to last year (9.6 per cent in 2013/14), and despite not being as high as the decline rate in 2012/13 (33.8 per cent), the results show that colony losses remain at an unacceptably high level.

Poor and variable weather, bee diseases and pests such as Varroa, and starvation due to lack of honey stored in the hive are all suspected to have contributed to the decline.

And although three out of five British adults are aware that honey bees are on the decline, two-thirds have little or no idea of what they can do to help, according to supporting research.

To help families understand the part they can play, BBKA has launched a ‘Friends of the Honey Bee’ campaign, inspired by Winnie-the-Pooh and friends.

The famous characters feature in a newly created ‘bee-friendly’ guide - to download from www.friendsofthehoneybee.com.