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Beekeeper helping protect the disease-free status of Manx bees

Mon, 04 Sep 2023

Harry Owens, a local beekeeper has spent more than 50 years helping protect the disease-free status of the Isle of Man’s rare honeybees has a new apprentice in Gary Cain.

Owens, who is in his 80s, has been working with the Isle of Man Government since 1975 to keep Manx bees free from diseases such as Varroa.

Cain said: “I was delighted to get this opportunity to undertake the study and training required to become a bee inspector and work alongside Harry, who is a font of knowledge. He has diligently monitored the health of the Island's bees for half a century. I look forward to meeting the Island's beekeepers and continuing the work to keep Manx colonies healthy and disease free.”

Harry Owens, who is Chair of Isle of Man Beekeepers and received the BEM for services to beekeeping in 2020, said: “The varroa disease-free status makes our bees special and means Manx queens are valuable. I am happy to have Gary join me to help safeguard their future.”

In the coming months the pair will work together so Cain can learn the role with jobs including gathering honey samples for testing in the UK to enable exports and responding to concerns of potential disease outbreaks in Manx hives.


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