We have a sad but inspirational story from the UK to share with you today.
For the past 20 years, 89-year old Ron Hoskins has researched and selectively bred bees that are able to cope with Varroa destructor mite, a pest has killed millions of bees worldwide.
Here is a 10-minute video of Ron in a 2015 BBC segment, where his groundbreaking work with bees is discussed. He doesn't use pesticides to remove the mites, because he believes his bees have learned to groom the larvae to get rid of the Varroa mites. Note that this was filmed in Ron's beekeeping research area that was recently destroyed.
On Monday, March 16, 2020, this elderly beekeeper’s greenhouse and sheds at Stanton Park in the UK were burnt to the ground, and his entire setup was gutted and destroyed in what is believed to have been an arson attack.
The perpetrators also vandalized and knocked over dozens of beehives in this cruel attack that was nothing more than mindless destruction. It is estimated that the loss of generators, beekeeping suits, microscopy equipment and much more totals into the thousands of pounds in damage.
A passing family raised the alert to the fire, but when firefighters arrived on the scene the beekeeping area had been reduced to a smoldering heap of charred wood.
Dave Hoskins is Ron’s son, and says his father, who is in seclusion trying to avoid the Covid-19 virus, is totally devastated. Dave has posted on social media, asking anyone with information to come forward. It’s possible the suspects were covered in bee stings and smelt intensely of smoke. The family would be very thankful for leads that help them find the perpetrator.
There is some uplifting news, despite all the sadness. First, the bees don't seem to have been harmed in the attack. They are buzzing around, taking care of bee-business as usual. The second piece of good news restores faith in the goodness of humanity after such a dark experience. A GoFundMe page was set up to help Ron Hoskins replace what was destroyed, and the goal was 5,000 British pounds. The current total raised is nearly five times higher - 23,684 British pounds! Despite the devastating coronavirus Covid-19 conditions around the world, this story demonstrates how people come together to help each other. Ron's tragic experience opened the hearts of countless people who have given to him from both their hearts and their wallets.
You can view a short video made by Reporter Daniel Jae Webb of the destruction at the scene of the crime. You can donate to the fundraiser for Ron at this GoFundMe page, so he can rebuild and dedicate himself further to the bees.
If you live in the UK and know anything about this incident, please call Wiltshire Police on 101.