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New Harvard Study Proves Why The Bees Are All Disappearing

May 20, 2014 in , ,

Well its official, neonicotinoids are killing bees at an exponential rate:

I think the last paragraph of the above article says it all really. The demand and greed for larger crops creates a much more damaging type of farming. Again and again money is at the root of it but would you do it differently? Ask yourself if you farmed land that would make you £100,000 a year if farmed organically or £500,000 if you used pesticides what would you do? Greed and wanting more seems to be ingrained in us from an early age these days. Are we losing sight of what’s important and beautiful in this world or is it already lost?

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“British” Honey Harvest Devastated

October 31, 2012 in , ,

The British Beekeepers Association (BBKA) has announced the results of their survey of beekeepers honey yeilds. Many experienced beekepers have descrbed 2012 as their “most difficult beekeeping year ever”.

The figures are disturbing with the average drop in yeild being 72%! So from an average of 30 pounds of honey down to 8 pounds this year. Thats absolutely huge and I would expect that the price of British honey to rise considerabley.

So whats caused this massive drop in honey yeild. Well 88% of the beekeepers surveyed blamed the poor summer; a lot of rain and relatively cold weather being the main factors. This poor summer may have longer term ramifications as queens may not have been able to produce enough brood to see the colonies through the Winter months.

The BBKA even issued an unprecidented mid-summer warning to check stores and feed them if necessary to prevent starvation.

Apparently London beekeepers faired the worst and Northern Ireland the best but still suffering a drop of 50%.

Check out the full report from the BBKA here.

So now that Ive covered the main story and issue Id also like to point out that as far as Im aware Scotland is still part of Britain, so how can this survey be “British” when not one Scottish beekeeper was surveyed? As a Scottish beekeeper Im slightly offended that for some reason we have been deemed not important enough to talk too. I now wonder how many of the 2712 beekeepers surveyed where actually English. Id really like to know that ratio as I suspect it could be verging on an English survey.

Does this affect the validity of this survey some what? The cynic in me feels like its a way of creating a bit of media hysteria to drum up donations to the adopt a beehive initiative the BBKA run. Which is advertised in the survey pdf document.
Are you a Scottish beekeeper feeling slightly left out? Even if there are no Scottish beekeeper reports, the BBKA have only survey a very small percentage of their total membership to come up with these results. Infact its less than 9% of their total membership that have been surveyed. Their total membership can only bee a small number of the total beekeepers in the UK anyway…especially as it seems they have no Scottish members!
However the results are still disturbing for those beekeepers surveyed. Where your honey yeilds down this year?

Please let us know!

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Help save our bees from Bayers pesticides! 24 hours to act!

April 27, 2012 in , ,

The excellent organisation Avaaz is running a 24 hours campaign to put pressure on the company Bayer. The campaign aims to make Bayer stop selling or Governments to ban a select group of pesticides called neonicotinoids.

Bayer has lobbied hard to keep these poisons on the market but already four european countries have banned them.

Bayer shareholders will vote on a motion that could stop these toxic chemicals in just 24 hours. Let’s all act now and shame the shareholders to stop killing bees, you can do this via the Avvaz website:

Click here to send a message to the shareholders of Bayer via Avaaz 


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Brand new site for Honey Beekeeping

January 13, 2012 in , ,

Well a bit behind schedule and not completely finished but the new site has been launched anyway! There has been some struggles, it definitely was not easy transfering all the data from the old site. However, I think most of the info has survived intact and I will be reviewing it all and adding more as I go (bare with me on that, and if you have anything you wish to add to the pages then just email me). Read the rest of this entry →

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Community Bee Group organise outreach day

July 4, 2011 in , ,

The Bungay Community Bee Group (BCB) as well as keeping bees
helps with education and engagement. The Bungay Bee Hive Day on Sunday
24th July is the biggest outreach event BCB have organised so far. At
this celebration of ‘all things bee’ with there will be a full
programme of talks, walks and ongoing activities for adults and
children, with a focus on insect pollination, biodiversity and what
each of us can do to help restore balance in our overstretched
environment. Read the rest of this entry →

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To Save Bees Humans Must Change

April 22, 2011 in ,

According to a recent United Nations report, the potentially disastrous decline in bees, impacting the vital pollinating element in food production for the growing global population, is likely to continue unless humans dramatically change their ways. The United Nations define these “ways” as everything from insecticides to air pollution and go on to say:

“The way humanity manages or mismanages its nature-based assets, including pollinators, will in part define our collective future in the 21st centurey.” UN Environment Programme executive director Achim Steiner said “The fact is that of the 100 crop species that provide 90% of the worlds foods, more than 70 are pollinated by bees.” Read the rest of this entry →

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Bee Safe, Not Sorry

January 10, 2011 in

Silently, billions of bees are dying off and our entire food chain is in danger. Bees don’t just make honey, they are a giant, humble workforce, pollinating 90% of the plants we grow.

Multiple scientific studies fault one group of toxic pesticides for their rapid demise, and bee populations have soared in four European countries that have banned these products. But powerful chemical companies are lobbying hard to keep selling this poison. Our best chance to save bees now is to push the US and EU to ban this deadly product — their action is critical and will have a ripple effect on the rest of the world.

We have no time to lose — the debate is raging about what to do. This is not just about saving bumble bees, this is about survival. Let’s build a giant global buzz calling for the EU and US to outlaw these killer chemicals and save our bees and our food. Sign the emergency petition now and send it onto to everyone and we’ll deliver it to key decision makers:

Bees are vital to life on earth — every year pollinating plants and crops with an estimated $40bn value, over one third of the food supply in many countries. Without immediate action to save bees we could end up with no fruit, no vegetables, no nuts, no oils and no cotton.

Recent years have seen a steep and disturbing global decline in bee populations — some bee species are now extinct and others are at just 4% of their previous numbers. Scientists have been scrambling for answers. Some studies claim the decline may be due to a combination of factors including disease, habitat loss and toxic chemicals. But leading independent research has produced strong evidence blaming neonicotinoid pesticides. This has led to beekeepers and scientists in France, Italy, Slovenia and even Germany, where the main manufacturer Bayer is based, already pushing successfully for bans of one of these bee killers. Meanwhile, Bayer continues to export its poison across the world.

This issue is now coming to the boil as major new studies have confirmed the scale of this problem. If we can get European and US decision-makers to take action, others will follow. It won’t be easy. A leaked document shows that the US Environmental Protection Agency knew about the pesticide’s dangers, but ignored them. The document says Bayer’s “highly toxic” product is a “major risk concern to non target insects (honey bees)”.

We need to make our voices heard to counter Bayer’s very strong influence on policy makers and scientists in both the US and the EU where they fund the studies and sit on policy bodies. The real experts — the beekeepers and farmers — want these deadly pesticides prohibited until and unless we have solid, independent studies that show they are safe. Let’s support them now. Sign the petition below, then forward this email:

We can no longer leave our delicate food chain in the hands of research run by the chemical companies and the regulators that are in their pockets. Banning this pesticide will move us closer to a world safe for ourselves and the other species we care about and depend on

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It was a hard Winter for honeybees

May 25, 2010 in ,

Well now we are well into Spring its time to take stock of how our bees coped with the unusually harsh Winter. It has been estimated by the British Beekeepers Association that loss of the UK honeybee population is around 17% which compares to around 19% last year the huge 30% loss between 2007-2008!! However I have heard some stories and rumours of the losses in Scotland being as high as 50% for some beeks up here. The BBKA survey did reveal marked regional variations. Beekeepers in the north of England lost more than a quarter of their honeybee colonies, while the south-west recorded the lowest losses: 12.8% of colonies between November 2009 and March 2010.

Martin Smith, the president of the BBKA, said this year’s losses showed a “small and encouraging improvement” on the previous year and are “much better” than the “disastrous” losses of three years ago. “It shows that our honeybees are slowly moving out of intensive care, but they are still not healthy enough,” he said. “Winter losses between 7-10% are acceptable.”

So definitely an improvement especially when considering we have had such a harsh Winter! Personally I think the harsh Winter will prove useful, being a Darwinian believer; these weaker bees can no longer reproduce and so any deficiencies or unwanted traits they may have had die with them.

The other great news is that mebership of the BBKA has gone up by 20%. I personally know that some of our local associations in Scotland are seeing record numbers attending their courses. Plus this website is becoming more and more popular with visits increasing each month!

The number of hives estimated to be in the UK is around 80,000 with 48 billion bees.

The US in comparison has suffered over one third of their colonies wiped out for the fourth year in a row. Not good! CCD is the main unexplained cause.

It is thought that honey bees contribute around £200million annually to the UK agricultural economy by pollinating a huge variety of crops. Its scary to think what would happen if we lost our bees!

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3D Bees! – Scanned beehive reveals bee life live in 3D

May 17, 2010 in

Entomologist Mark Greco and his colleagues at the Swiss Bee Research Centre in Bern, Switzerland and scientists at the University of Bath led by Professor Cathryn Mitchell and Dr Manuchehr Soleimani are pioneering a new way of viewing the inside of a beehive.

3D inner beehive image

3D inner beehive image

The technique is called Diagnostic Radioentomology (DR) which scans the hive taking a series of 3D images. These images create a live picture of whats going on inside the hive, meaning we can gain a greater insight into what the bees are doing behind closed doors. These live images produced by X-ray computerised tomography can also be used to track individual bees within the hive, thus allowing the tracking of the Queen, again giving a greater insight into her movements.

Mr Greco told the BBC when interviewed, “the approach is non-invasive and does not modify their normal behaviour…..We can accurately assess the number of bees and where they are at the time of scanning.”

The researchers are working to improve this new technique which will hopefully result in clearer 3D images and more accurately measure the bee population, volumes of pollen, wax and honey within a hive.

The University of Bath scientists are also working on new computer models which will hopefully allow better evaluation of parasites and pathogens affecting the hive.

“Because the method is extremely accurate, we will be looking for critical thresholds of pathogen and parasite loads and loss of food resources from which bee populations can not recover,” explained Mr Greco, who is completing his PhD thesis.

“[We will also be investigating] how pathogens such as mites, viruses, bacteria and fungi might interact, both among themselves, and with environmental pressures or stressors, to produce colony declines or collapses.”

The team hopes too that the new imaging technique might indicate what is reducing the numbers of other solitary bee species.

“Many solitary bees forage on the same floral resources to those of honeybees, some also suffer from the same pathogens, such as fungal infestations in their nests.”

The UK Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council, together with the British government is spending £10 million on researching the population decline of bees, some of this money could be well spent on furthering these new techniques to gain greater insight into the inner-workings of beehives.

See a video of the 3D images on the BBC news website here

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Vanishing of the Bees – Film

April 8, 2010 in ,

Bees are dying in their billions!

In the UK around 1/5 of honeybee hives were lost in the Winter of 2008-2009. Bees pollinate a third of the food we eat, contributing £200 million a year to the UK economy.

The co-operative has made a film documenting the vanishing of bees in the UK and why its happening. The film is 90 mins and takes in the beekeepers point of view, aswell as farmers and scientists.

You can buy the film from Amazon by following this link:

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