A BOWDON beekeeper is appealing for farmers, groundsmen and gardeners to take care with pesticides, after her bee colonies were poisoned.

Kate Huet was devastated when she discovered thousands of dead and dying honey bees outside her three hives.

Tests by experts from the National Bee Unit in York confirmed the bees were poisoned and now further investigations will be carried out by the Wildlife Incident Investigation Scheme to identify which pesticide was used.

Kate, who has lost about 30,000 of her 120,000 bees, says they must have picked up the poison when out foraging.

Kate, 44, said: “The sight was simply horrific. It is just devastating to find they have been poisoned en masse because they have been foraging on something that has been sprayed with something that has poisoned them.

“Using insecticides and pesticides, especially now when colonies are building after the long, hard and cold winter is potentially very damaging.

“Honey bees are under huge threat as we all know, so to nurture them just to have them wiped out because of careless use of a chemical is devastating.

“We all benefit from these amazing creatures pollinating our gardens and crops.”

She added there are strict guidelines to follow when using insecticides that affect bees.

Malcolm Haynes, the secretary of Cheshire Beekeepers’ Association, said it is not a common problem and he had not heard of any poisoning for many years.

“Most farmers and sprayers are aware these days of the danger to bees and each year I get one or two who contact me about any spraying they are doing, and I try and put them in contact with any beekeepers in their vicinity.

“The message is spray responsibly, follow the instructions on the container and never spray on open flowers.“ Information on using pesticides can be found at pesticides.gov.uk and at https://secure.fera.defra.gov.uk/beebase/index.cfm?sectionid=33