Where have all the bees gone?
When I found out that I needed to write an article about bees I was a bit like, ‘OK, I love bees, I can put something together at some point, no rush.’
However, once I started doing the research for the article, I got totally hooked on the little yellow and black insects and now I can’t wait to tell you everything I have found out about those cute, tiny, flying machines.
Well, I’ll bee darned!
According to ‘Friends of the Earth’ there are approximately 270 species of bees recorded in the UK. You will bee amazed too, read about it here.
Sugar paste and silver spoons...
Recently I saw a post about bees on Facebook by Sir David Attenborough, a British broadcaster and naturalist. I’ve always admired his work and loved watching his documentaries. Find out more about Sir David Attenborough here.
Sir Attenborough was talking about how we all need to encourage bees back into our gardens. Following his suggestions, I lined up old silver spoons filled with sugar paste and placed them in my front and back garden. Days passed and no bees came, just tribes of ants scampering around in their silver-spooned sugar fest! It was interesting, but I didn’t achieve my goal. I Googled the topic to clarify that I had taken the correct measures in trying to encourage bees into my garden. It was a fake Facebook post!
This is what I found:
A Facebook post alleging to bee from Sir David Attenborough swept across the internet in June 2018. It was shared millions of times and picked up by news outlets across the world. But the post, which told members of the public to give tired bees a spoonful of sugar mixed with water, turned out to bee a fake. The BBC confirmed the advice didn’t come from Sir David at all and got Facebook to remove it.
Nevertheless, the revelation did get everyone talking about the very important issue of bee protection. And, it now has experts sharing all kinds of tips about how the public can help the little buzzy bees.
On a personal note, I can’t bee-lieve I didn’t get custody!
Bees are a little bit of a sore subject in my house and it involves a custody battle. One of my ex-boyfriends and I that got engaged many years ago were kindly given a bee house as our engagement gift. It was placed in an ideal spot in the garden but when my fiance and I split up, there it stayed, not to bee moved even though it was empty. I asked for custody but it was denied. So did the beautiful large picture of racing yachts which I also requested but that’s another story. Luckily the same friends that bought me the original bee house replaced it and that one is in a perfect place in my garden.
However, no bees have come yet. In fact, the only bees that I have seen this year have been dead on my garage floor, it’s a very sad situation.
Last year, my local council decided to not cut the lawns around my village, leaving the grass to grow wild and bushes protruded into the road making it a bit hazardous to pull out of a junction. The community tolerated it in the hope that it would help the bee population.
Did it? I’m not convinced, I would love to find out more.
Watch out for the angry bees!
I do know for a fact that there were a lot of angry bees back in 2016. I worked in a building that had beehives in the grounds. One of my friends was attacked by a swarm and when the beekeeper came to contain the situation, she explained that unusually, she was dealing with a lot of angry bees and she didn’t know the cause.
This was the headline of an article about a woman who shared the same interest in bees as I. It was very sweet - if not a little extreme but in a good way.
A library assistant, Fiona Presly, has got people buzzing - by keeping a 'house trained' pet bee in her home.
Fiona said: "I found her when we were getting work done in the garden, and it was lucky I didn't stand on her.”
The article continues by telling the story of her relationship with the bee and how she used to cuddle it. Find out more here.
Bee-lieve it or not…
The bees have politicians all over the world buzzing! Examining their use of pesticides on fields.
The federal government will begin phasing out the outdoor use of nicotine-based pesticides beginning in 2021, part of an effort to stem the mysterious decline of honey bee colonies around the world. The Pest Management Regulatory Agency of Canada will announce a three-year phaseout of two of the three main neonicotinoid pesticides currently approved for use in the country, sources close to the decision tell The Canadian Press.
Over 33,000 people took to the streets of Berlin on the 20th January 2018 to demand a new food and farming policy that benefits small farmers and protects the environment. Farmers, consumers, beekeepers and food activists joined the march that was led by 160 tractors and ended in front of the Brandenburg Gate. Equipped with colourful posters and creative costumes, they walked under this year’s motto “Stop the agro-industry!”.
Many dressed up as cows or chickens, others buzzed across the city as bees or butterflies. Find out more...
Trump v the bees!
The Trump administration has rescinded an Obama-era ban on the use of pesticides linked to declining bee populations and the cultivation of genetically modified crops in dozens of national wildlife refuges where farming is permitted. Environmentalists, who had sued to bring about the two-year-old ban, said on Friday that lifting the restriction poses a grave threat to pollinating insects and other sensitive creatures relying on toxic-free habitats afforded by wildlife refuges.
In the UK:
The UK will back a total ban on insect-harming pesticides in fields across Europe, the environment secretary, Michael Gove, has revealed.
The decision reverses the government’s previous position and is justified by recent new evidence showing neonicotinoids have contaminated the whole landscape and cause damage to colonies of bees. It also follows the revelation that 75% of all flying insects have disappeared in Germany and probably much further afield, a discovery Gove said had shocked him.
What is the pesticide that is causing the problems?
Neonicotinoids (sometimes shortened to neonics) are a class of neuro-active insecticides chemically similar to nicotine. In the 1980s Shell and in the 1990s Bayer started work on their development. The neonicotinoid family includes acetamiprid, clothianidin, imidacloprid, nitenpyram, nithiazine, thiacloprid and thiamethoxam. Imidacloprid is the most widely used insecticide in the world. Compared to organophosphate and carbamate insecticides, neonicotinoids cause less toxicity in birds and mammals than insects. Some breakdown products are also toxic to insects. Find out more here.
For the serious bee lovers out there…
Social media can be a wonderful thing - I took to Facebook to see if anyone had something to say about buzzy bees and was amazed at what I found.
Take a look at the following pages:
I took to Twitter to see if anyone was tweeting about bees and I found even more interesting things and I came across Bees Beezine.
There is a world bee day!
Slovenia proposed that the United Nations (UN) proclaim 20th May as World Bee Day.
On 20th December 2017, following three years of efforts at the international level, the UN Member States unanimously approved Slovenia’s proposal, proclaiming 20th May as World Bee Day. The purpose of the www.worldbeeday.org website is to present the initiative and its implementation, raise awareness of the importance of bees and beekeeping, inform the public of major beekeeping events around the world and celebrate World Bee Day.
The Terminator robot of the bee world!
A drone that can pollinate flowers may one day work side by side with bees to improve crop fields. About three-quarters of global crop species, from apples to almonds, rely on pollination by bees and other insects. But pesticides, land clearing and climate change have caused declines in many of these creatures, creating problems for farmers.
Pollination is needed for reproduction in flowering plants. Male flower parts, or stamens, produce pollen that fertilises female parts, known as pistils, to make seeds. In self-pollinating flowers, the stamen sheds pollen directly onto the pistil. Find out more here.
What can you do to help the bee population?
Due to the increase in buildings and roads being constructed, there is a lack of green areas.
You can create a bee-friendly environment by planting and encouraging wild grass and flowers to grow in your garden
Avoid using synthetic pesticides, fertilizers, and herbicide. Avoid chemicals belonging to the neonicotinoid family
Plant a bee-friendly garden - avoid hybrid flowers, make sure you will have blooms all year round
Plant flowers in patches, bees like one type at a time
Leave an undisturbed plot for ground-nesting bees
Bees need trees and resin for nesting materials
You could buy a small bee house or a large beehive
Create a little bee bath - put out a dish of clean water
I will be surprised if you know this…
With the exception of honey bees, most bees like to be on their own. Apparently, 70% of bees live underground and 30% live in holes inside trees or hollow stems.
You can even adopt a beehive!
According to www.buzzaboutbees.net , bees (honey bees in particular) are the most studied creature by humans after mankind. The bee is associated with the production of food for humans (via pollination, but also honey), healing, and perhaps more than any other creature - if not the only creature, held up as setting a selfless example to mankind on organised society.
Bee happy, life is too short to bee sad...
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