DOUGLAS, Isle of Man, May 14 (UPI) — The Isle of Mann is sending 12 healthy queen bees to England to see if they can rejuvenate a bee population decimated by colony collapse, officials said.
The queens were to be delivered to beekeepers in Birmingham and Stockport in a test to determine if they repopulate hives infected by disease and harsh weather conditions, The Daily Telegraph reported Friday.
Bee colonies on the Isle of Mann have been spared the disease seen elsewhere because of a 1987 ban on importing foreign bees, island bee inspector Harry Owens told the BBC.
The queens were to arrive in matchbox-sized cages, Owens said.
“The keeper will take out and kill the existing queen and put the cage, which contains a bit of icing sugar, in the hive,” Owens told the BBC. “The diseased worker bees will eat through the icing to release the queen, by which time they will have accepted her as their own.”
In 2009, more than 10,000 queens were imported to Britain from around the world in an attempt to rejuvenate the bee population.
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