I have been dragging my heels on this issue for ages because of difficulties getting a post onto this site. All sorted out now though thanks to Paul and a good search of the territory to see how it all works.
So seeing as how no-one will be out tending bees this weekend due to the miserable weather I am presenting you all with some essential reading material. 🙂 Only kidding. In fact it is important information but when you read it is entirely up to you. If you decide to read it all that is.
Please forgive any suggestion that I am teaching any of you how to suck eggs. I am not I can assure you. I am merely sharing the information I have available to me. Its probably well known to you all anyway. In which case my apology for repeating the same old mantra’s. After all I am the newbie here without a hive as yet. One with bees in it that is. 🙂
The Story so far:
I had just about joined this group when a report on Neonicotinoids was published by Stirling University.
(The above report appeared on the Mongabay website which happens to be a very good environmental website. Worth subscribing to.)
It highlights just how little of the pesticide seed dressing Neonicotinoid is actually needed to harm the bees. This includes wild bees as well as honeybees. It is a neurotoxin which destroys brain cells rapidly, even in humans. Ever wonder what causes so many headaches? Well its probably mass brain cell death caused by a neurotoxin in your food or water or from contact with some source unknown to you. Imagine how harmful a dose of this stuff is to a tiny bee? It destroys its memory so it loses its way and eventually when it runs out of energy (they usually take enough honey store to get them to and from the food source that they are visiting) they fall to the ground and get taken by ants. That is why there are never any bees found dead around the hive other than those ejected from the hive that have died naturally or been infected via Varroa mites or some other obvious cause. I say obvious because most infections in a hive are obvious. Except CCD. In this instance they appear to have all deserted the hive. In fact the bees will have declined rapidly in population because of the pesticide impact. As less return more leave to forage for food and these in turn fail to return until eventually, apart from a meager few bees left in the hive who cannot fly, the hive is empty.
Another piece of information was produced by the Pesticide Action Network (US) which highlights the current status of the science behind CCD. Again this is another very worthwhile website that produces loads of info on pesticides and their adverse effects on humans as well as the bees and other natural ecosystems.
The above link takes you to the page within the PAN(US) website which has the report I refer to at the top of the list titled ‘Bees & Pesticides: State of the Science’. Left click on the title and it will take you to the pdf file. Very detailed but also very important for everyone to understand the implications.
NB: For anyone wanting to post articles and stuff in full to the Oxfordshire Natural Beekeeping Group I have noticed that it would take up massive amounts of space. Even to post a full pdf it takes up loads of bytes hence why I have resorted to posting the link to the websites only. Unless someone knows an alternative method as to how I can post a direct link to any pdf without the file being totally downloaded to this page that is. You see I have loads of such files just waiting to be shared. Sad or what? 🙂
I have to confess I never use chemicals in my garden as I don’t think they are necessary. Not even slug pellets. I believe that in a balanced ecosystem the entire contents of any ecosystem balance everything out. Yes we get slugs and snails, we get green and black fly but we also get Toads, Frogs, Song Thrushes, Ladybirds, Hoverflies, bats and song birds of the smaller varieties plus a whole host of other benign predators that actually keep every invasion in check. Sadly though the habitats of a lot of these helpful critters is a lot larger than our tiny gardens and these habitats are not always under our control. So it is important from our stand point as beekeepers to ensure that we don’t just limit our activities to ‘being nice’ to our neighbours for fear of litigation because a rogue bee stung them. It goes beyond the friendly offer of a pot of honey to ‘keep them sweet’. In fact it extends so much further than a lot of people actually realise. We have to be more than beekeepers. We have to be educators too.
Finally I present a couple of links to our less well supported bee neighbours. The Bumble bees.
Part way down the article is a link to the report: ‘The Impact of neonicotinoid insecticides on bumblebees, Honey bees and other non-target invertebrates.’
A really nicely presented site. They are currently embarking on a bumblebee survey so get involved if you have the time. Especially if your out counting flowers in a meadow somewhere…….Hint hint. 🙂
Happy reading this wet and miserable weekend. The sun will shine soon……I Hope!