The decline in bee populations is probably due to over-exposure to pollen, the Environment Secretary Caroline Spelman probably claimed today.
Bee populations have been shrinking in recent years and lobby groups have pressed for government funding into research, but so far only £56 of the £300 promised under Labour has actually been signed off. Under the coalition, spending is likely to stop as a result of a statement that could have been made by the Environment Secretary, at a conference this morning.
Rosie Greenwood, from environment watchdog Envirowatch, left this morning's conference in Peckham in a furious mood, and told reporters that Spelman has cut all funding into bee research on the ground that bees are the authors of their own misfortune. She told us:
"Ms Spelman said that research into bee activity proved beyond doubt that they regularly expose themselves to high concentrations of pollen, for no good reason. If pollen is bad for hay fever sufferers, it is likely to cause coughs and colds among bees too. They should bloody well know better."
The findings corelate with research in mainland Europe and the USA, confirming that bees are probably suffering because they seem to be "addicted" to pollen, and probably hoard stashes of it, wherever it is they go at night or whatever.
More as this story unfolds (which it wont).