That bees are in decline is in no doubt. There is much debate about the exact cause of their demise due to colony collapse or other means. What this means for all of us is an unknown but, at best it will have a negative impact, at worst catastrophic. At Balqees, Riath and the team keep up with the latest news about this issue and here are some extracts of interest we’ve read recently:
Bees in the USA are in trouble
An annual survey of roughly 5,000 beekeepers showed the 33% dip from April 2016 to April 2017. The decrease is small compared to the survey’s previous 10 years, when the decrease hovered at roughly 40%. From 2012 to 2013, nearly half of the nation’s colonies died.
Source – USA Today: A third of the nation’s honeybee colonies died last year. Why you should care
Bee colony decline could be the next global warming
In the UK alone, bee colonies have fallen by 50% in the past 20 years.
Bees work incredibly hard for us and experts have warned that by 2018 it’s possible that bees could disappear almost entirely from Britain.
The decline of the bees may well be “the next global warming”.
In this article, Sarah Orecchia, founder of Unbeelievable Health, explains why bees are a crucial part of the ecosystem.
She says that she believes we are entering a disaster zone as bee numbers decline so dramatically, as we depend on bees for pollination which affects our eco system. Pesticides have a huge role in killing bees, plus having late summers and early winters due to climate change means that flora and fauna are being disrupted. According to Sarah we are underestimating the significance of bees and the impact they have on our lives.
Bees are a crucial part of producing our food as they pollinate a third of everything we eat. They also pollinate grasses agricultural animals (and other wild animals and insects) need in order to survive. Bees and other wild pollinators are responsible for the pollination of 84% of EU crops.
Source – Express: Decline of the bees
What can we do to help bees?
This is all very alarming as no human activity or technology can replace bees and pollination. We need to act now to prevent the catastrophe, but it’s very easy to feel helpless. So what can we do? Here are some initiatives that give hope and inspiration:
All-Ireland Pollinator Plan
In November 2016, BordBia, the Irish Food Board in conjunction with the National Biodiversity Data Centre called upon businesses to take action and save bees. This was to support the All-Ireland Pollinator Plan which is a strategy to address pollinator decline and protect pollination services across the whole of Ireland (North and South). They outlined the following:
- protect areas that are providing food and shelter for pollinators
- mowing lawns using a pollinator friendly regimen
- install a bee or insect hotel
- raising awareness in your community or supply chain
- planting pollinator friendly bulbs, trees, shrubs and flower beds and reducing the use of pesticides
The All-Ireland Plan recognises that pollinators are necessary for a healthy environment and, without them, 78% of wild plants in Ireland that require insect pollination would disappear. Ireland joins a small number of countries in Europe who have formalised an approach to address this problem.
Other suggestions to help the bees
Growing our own plants in the garden, without the use of pesticides can help propagate the pollination process and create life and an enjoyable environment for everyone.
Consider bee keeping. It requires a very small investment and is a great way to unwind, connect and contribute to nature.
Educate our children and ourselves in ways we can help the environment. If you take time to observe nature you realise how magical it is and value it more. There are some resources for children on the Eden Project website, including illustrations by Chris Bisson, Eden Project Plant Records Manager.