The Co-operative Group has hit out at the rising cost of keeping bees.

The society claims that since the plight of the honeybee hit the media, a surge in popularity in beekeeping has driven up prices.

A five-frame nucleus of bees cost £40 in 2008 but now beekeepers are being charged more than £150, according to Chris Shearlock, sustainable development manager at The Co-op.

“A series of factors have come together to have a devastating impact on honeybees, which are nature’s number one pollinating machine,” he said.

“In order to help reverse this decline in the bee population we have been supporting city dwellers to take up urban beekeeping but now ‘bee-flation’ could put it out of the reach of some people.”

The society has been running a ‘Plan Bee’ campaign since last year designed to highlight the plight of the pollinating insects.

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