Following a Europe-wide ban on neonicotinoids, bees are to be offered patches to help them cope with withdrawal.
The patches are part of the ‘Bee Strong’ campaign targeting worker bees through hard-hitting adverts and hive support groups. A telephone helpline will be advertised with the slogan ‘Give us a buzz’.
An EU spokesman said ‘We’ll be drawing on our experience of producing road safety and smoking cessation campaigns in the human sphere. Adverts will probably feature a dead bee. Possibly several.’
Though applauded by the Confederation of Queen Bees, the prohibition is not expected to be welcomed across the bee world. One worker bee said: ‘It’s the only pleasure I’ve left in life. Never did me no harm. Show me the way to go home!…’
Other objections have been raised, notably by the farming equipment industry, who have complained that other devices, such as placebo crop-sprayers, were not considered for the EU subsidies. Ecologists have spoken of nightmare scenarios around an emergent black market in neonicotinoids and gangster bees armed with sting-guns and wearing very small fedoras.
Neonicotinoids have been widely blamed for falling bee productivity, but were the drug of choice amongst sections of the bee community and said to be notable for an excellent buzz.