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Friday, 21 January 2011

The Value of the Bee



Courtesy of the Guardian/Judi Bottoni/AP

I was reading in the newspaper this morning that the honey bee is in decline and whilst this is not a new concept I thought I would do a little bit of research to perhaps find the reason why and more importantly see what is being done to prevent this species from extinction.

This powerful quote famously spoken by Albert Einstein highlights why we should try and protect this vulnerable species:

“If the bee disappeared off the surface of the globe, then man would only have four years of life left. No more bees, no more pollination, no more plants, no more animals, no more man”.

The reason for the decline in bees is unknown and many people believe that this is a result of a changing climate, intensive agricultural practices and the use of pesticides damaging the environment in which this species live.

According to the Guardian nearly all colonies in the wild have died out and without beekeepers to care for them, honeybees could disappear in a few years.

The BBC reports that Bees thrive from feeding off a variety of plants rather than just one. Their decline may be as a result of a decline in wild flowers. Due to the expansion of crops like oilseed rape in agricultural areas, bees are often more likely to succeed in urban areas due to the diverse range of plant life in parks etc.

I find it so saddening that, according to the BBC, due to the commercial value of the bees pollination (estimated £200m per year) the Government has started to invest resources in to finding out the reason behind this decline. Surely the decline in this species was news worthy in itself. Why is it always down to money?

That’s why campaigns such as capitalbee are so important to help support the cause and give something back to the community. This campaign focuses on the London area and one again emphasises the idea of honey bees thriving in urban areas. Their campaign aims to:

Promote community-run beekeeping in London and campaign for a bee-friendly city

They share tips and hints on how you can protect honey bees. They currently have a competition running until the 28th January 2011 for 50 local communities. The lucky winners will receive protective clothing, basic tools, a bee hive, and most importantly mentoring and support. Check out their website:

The British Beekeepers Association suggests ways that you can do to help bees. These include:

1)     Become a beekeeper;
2)     Help to protect swarms;
3)     Plant your garden with bee friendly plants;
4)     Buy local honey; and
5)     Find space for a beehive in your garden.

The British Beekeepers Association runs a programme called ‘Adopt a Beehive’ whereby you can purchase an adoption pack from the charity which includes the following:
 
Courtesy of British Beekeepers Association

















The money raised will fund research into honey bee health, and education programmes for bee keepers.

They also sell a range of products including bee wax candles, cards and gift packs with all proceeds being put back into the research and education.
Check out the website for more information http://www.britishbee.org.uk/

According to an Independent supplement today, the House of Commons is to debate the impact on bees and new generation pesticides which have been linked to bee mortality in other countries. This is a positive step. Watch this space……

A suitable closing statement for this blog is taken directly from the Guardian:

“When kept properly, bees are good neighbours, and only sting when provoked. Beekeepers wear protective clothing when they are handling bees. If a bee hovers inquiringly in front of you when unprotected, do not flap your hands. Stay calm and move slowly away, best into the shade or a tree. The bee will soon lose interest.”


Courtesy of the Guardian/Matt Cardy/Getty
 

1 comment:

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