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The Barefoot Beekeeper

The Barefoot Beekeeper was the title of my first book, published in 2007. Since then, I have written several more books, aimed at people who want to keep bees in a simple, reasonably natural way, without investing a lot of money and free from the synthetic chemical treadmill.

This podcast is irregular, variable in content and hopefully somewhat useful and interesting to beekeepers of all flavours.

You can find my website at and you will find me on Facebook and rarely on Twitter.




Nov 24, 2010

This episode will be of particular interest to British beekeepers - especially those who are - or have been - or may one day be members of the British Bee Keepers Association - the BBKA.

Wherever you are, I think you will find something of interest, though, as I will be interviewing a man who has looked very carefully at the whole issue of pesticides and their potential impact on bees, with particular reference to the BBKA's decade-long policy of taking money from the pesticide industry in return for the use of the BBKA logo on certain products, and the endorsement of such products as being somehow 'bee-friendly'.

Many people - when told that a bee keepers association endorses insecticides at all - are shocked and surprised, as was Dr Bernie Doeser, who has recently produced an independent report that is highly critical of the way the BBKA have managed - or failed to manage - their policy.

Bernie Doeser's report reveals barely believable levels of negligence and incompetence in this whole episode, starting with the fact that the BBKA actually endorsed some of the pesticides that - far from being bee-friendly - are actually among the top five most lethal pesticides in their class.

I had to record the interview with Bernie Doeser in the rather echo-y cafe of the Tate gallery in the seaside town of St Ives in Cornwall, and although we managed to arrange coats and hats to absorb much of the background noise, you can still tell that it is a cafe.

And for those of you outside the UK, Cornwall is in the bottom left hand corner of England, and England is part of that little island off the coast of Europe called Great Britain, the United Kingdom or just the UK.

Bernie Doeser's report can be downloaded from here -

The BBKA's announcement is here -

Why has the BBKA failed to support other European bee keeping organizations and oppose the use of neonicotinoids? Is it because they are the only ones in the pay of Bayer?


CharBee Koenen
thirteen and a half years ago

Thanks Phil, there is a great deal of confusing news in the mainstream media both in the UK and abroad (here in the US) as to the actions and intentions of the largest Agribusiness companies and their products.

Bernie does a great job clarifying that several products Bayer stamped with BBKA approval are indeed toxic to Bees in both low and hi doses. His sleuthing shows BBKA is either ridiculously incompetent in selling their endorsement, or just in it for the money.

Lets hope this helps pressure BBKA to do right by the bees and forego the corporate "judas" money. Great job Phil!

lee johnson
thirteen and a half years ago

The whole thing is deeply disturbing. Thanks for this Phil.

deborah schneebeli morrell
thirteen and a half years ago

Thanks for this Phil, absolutely fascinating.
the BBKA capitulation on this matter is a vindication of all the work you and other thoughtful beekeepers have done. We were right, all the arguments, our lobbying, challenging and forensic dissecting of the BBKA position in the face of insults and critisism have obviously paid off. Perhaps there should be a legal case against the BBKA for the damage that has been done to bee health through their reckless endorsing of pesticides.Any environmental lawyers out there?