Minister Roban said, “As many of you will know, for a while now I have had an interest in beekeeping and the important role bees have in our environment. So, it should come as no surprise that the current work being undertaken with Bermuda’s bees and beeswax in association with the MIT programme has had a deep interest for me. Today, I want to share some current facts with you and highlight some of the challenges facing our bee population today.
“Bermuda has had a long history with the honeybee, with some of the earliest records indicating that the first honey bees arrived in Bermuda in the early1600s.
“A letter from Robert Rich to his brother in England, sent in 1616, stated, “ the bees you sent do prosper well.” And honey bees, for the most part, have continued to “prosper well” in Bermuda for almost the next four centuries.
“The history and importance of the bees in Bermuda and in general are still valid. There are several dozen hobbyist beekeepers and a handful of commercial beekeepers here on island, with 350 hives, each with its queen.
“Our native bee, the Solitary Bee which is a Leafcutter Bee, is protected under the Protected Species Act 2003, and there are several other varieties found on our shores. Our current crop of Bees has some genetic diversity from mixing with previous imports, perhaps an older German style of Bee, therefore possess some genetic diversity here that is not found anywhere else.
“In fact, there are bees in Bermuda with a diverse variety of genetics [Russian, Italian, western, German, etc] that contribute in a very special way to Bermuda’s natural environment. There are over 20,000 varieties of Bees around the world.
“As we have seen through the recent programme with MIT, bees and beeswax are an important part of science and science research.
“Our relationship with Dr. Danielle Wood dates back to April 2018, when I was speaking at the 34th Annual Space Symposium held in Colorado Springs, Colorado, where I participated on a panel on emerging spacefaring countries and she approached me about working with the Bermuda Government.
“Dr. Wood is a member of our Space Advisory Panel which provides advice, expert opinion, and guidance on the development of Bermuda’s space and satellite product.