Over 70 people squeezed into the Star Anise Cafe on Friday night to hear three speakers on bees. See report here by Chair of the evening Miriam Yagud.
Photos: Star Anise then speakers Carlo, Tom and Sheila.
I very much enjoyed the evening - all the speakers were good - but loved hearing Carlo from the Global Bee Project - this is a locally based project - and his passion came through strongly -the website has good info but for me he really made me shift my thinking from just honeybees. In the UK there are some 256 variaties of bees and over 20,000 in the world - the honeybee is just one - take the Red Mason bee - a great pollinator as well - and maybe essential if we kill off the honeybee. Indeed already folk are thinking about how this bee can be encouraged - it only pollinated until June so there is talk of chilling bees and then letting them out later!
A fascinating fact was that I think some 80% of our bees live underground and now farming techniques and pesticides have led to their decline - it is not just the honeybee that is suffering. Anyhow one thing I will be doing in the next couple of weeks is making a bee house for those bees who like a hole to live in - the web is full of designs - see for example here and video here.
As regular blog readers will know there are a fair few blogs on bees - and various calls for action - well interestingly Carlo considered the most important issue to be pesticides. And one action that people could take is to call for a ban of a pesticide that is thought to be accelerating the decline of bees in this country. Farmers and other food producers, gardeners and allotment holders, as well as beekeepers, see this as a potential disaster as so many plants depend on bees for pollination. As this blog has noted there is much speculation as to what has caused the catastrophic decline or 'colony collapse disorder', although it has been accepted in parts of Europe that a group of pesticides known as Neonicotinoids are implicated in killing bees, and, as a result, they are banned in Germany, France, Italy and Slovenia, where as many as two thirds of honeybee populations have been wiped out. The Soil Association in this country and leading experts have also called for these pesticides to be banned.
I would like to encourage others to join me in writing to Hilary Benn today to call for action. The decline in the bee population means that urgent, decisive action is needed. The UK needs to be taking a leaf out of the book of our European neighbours and ban harmful Neonicotinoid pesticides at the earliest opportunity. Benn's email is: email@example.com