This piece from FOE is both good and disturbing and, for me, the loss of habitat is as bad as the pesticides. People do not understand that their own actions – putting a concrete drive at their house house, perhaps even getting an allotment, having a better pavement for the school walk, a new road to help congestion, a farmer turning a field from pasture to arable – all steal habitat from wildlife, plants and so insects and bees, then birds, then animals!
We have to change our thinking and then our way of life …
Why are the bees disappearing?
There are two key factors in the decline of bee populations: loss of habitat and the intensive use of pesticides. In the past 60 years, we’ve lost 97% of our wildflower meadows. Add to this the loss of much of our natural hedgerow and woodland thanks to modern farming methods, and you leave the bees without flowers to forage or safe nesting sites. Our bees are hungry, homeless and dying.
Then there’s the hotly debated issue of pesticides used in farming. In 2013, a two-year restriction was put on the use of three neonicotinoid pesticides by the EU, after they were found to present a high risk to bees. The pesticides industry has been fighting the ban ever since and, as a result, a growing number of studies have been carried out that show that these pesticides do harm bees.
I just found this Facebook page for the Lancaster Beekeepers and liked it :-). they have some fab pix there, inspiring me for how I want my garden to look next year. Lots of hard work in the meantime :-).
We are at a time of year when wild flowers brighten up our countryside. Predominant colours are white, yellow, shades of pink, blues purples, and all of them are trying to attract insects to pollinate them. However the colours that we see do not look the same to the bees. So how do plants attract them?
The answer is that they produce designs that we cannot see but bees can…
Bee-centred beekeeping is an approach guided by the biology and nature of the honeybee. The bee-centred method is non-intrusive, low intensity and minimal stress for bees and beekeeper.
Colonies managing their nest environments without the well-meaning, but often disruptive, support of man are subject to natural selection which weeds out the weak. Strong, healthy colonies are capable of coping with varroa, viruses and other pathogens. This has been confirmed by observation of Bees in wild or feral settings where colonies often chose quiet, warm or well insulated sites several metres above the ground.
High up, in trees or buildings, Bees are often unnoticed and cause little nuisance while living alongside man and providing essential pollination services.
This sympathetic, considerate approach to beekeeping will enable people to live in harmony with bees, enjoying their presence in the garden and receiving the gift of honey.
It may sound obvious but 100 years ago Britain’s countryside was a very different place. Back then it would have been awash with colourful flower-rich meadows and grasslands that were an intrinsic part of our agriculture and people’s daily lives. … Continue reading →
Poole Cottage, Coppett Hil, Herefordshire,HR9 6JH Poole Cottage: created from scratch over the past 4 years, this 2 acre hillside garden has a predominately naturalistic style with many grasses and later flowering perennials. Home to designer Jo Ward-Ellison, the garden … Continue reading →
We have received a lot of enquiries over the past month about a ‘strange small black bumblebee’ so in this month’s All about the bees blog our Conservation Officer for the South West seeks to clear up the mystery.
This bee is actually not a bumblebee at all but one of the 200+ species of solitary bee that can be found in the UK. It is called the Hairy-footed flower bee (Anthophora plumipes) and is roughly the same size as a bumblebee with a dense furry body. As its name suggests, it has very long distinctive hairs on its legs.
It is mostly confined to southern areas of the UK and can be seen from early February until late June.
This is really important – it seems that bees may be swarming early this year and they may well need looking after. There’s a good video to watch too. Read this from the British Beekeepers Association … Do you have … Continue reading →
Fortunately I was sitting down when I found this article or I might just have collapsed with shock! The government, and that incredible example of womanhood Liz Truss, actually telling gardeners to grow their gardens to help bees ??? It … Continue reading →
I seem to be in a regular Bee-Thing at the moment – this is my 3rd successive bee-post :-). This piece, from the RHS (Royal Horticultural Society, is very helpful … Flying insects such as bees and hoverflies which visit … Continue reading →