Divining the News (DTN)

Not Mainstream News

Plight of the humble bee Times London

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Eclectically off topic:

beeNative British bees are dying out — and with them will go flora, fauna and one-third of our diet. We may have less than a decade to save them and avert catastrophe. So why is nothing being done?…


It’s the same right across Europe, and the reasons everywhere are the same — changes in agricultural practice that have replaced historic mixed farmscapes with heavily industrialised monocultures in which wild animals and plants are about as welcome as jackals in a pie factory. Insects in particular have been targets of intense chemical warfare. We are, at the eleventh hour, learning from our mistakes, but patching nature back together again is exponentially more difficult than blowing it apart.


Most people do now get the point about honeybees. Following the multiple crises that continue to empty the hives — foulbrood, varroa mites, viral diseases, dysfunctional immune systems, and now the mysterious but globally devastating colony-collapse disorder (CCD) — it is understood that the true value of Apis mellifera lies not so much in the sticky stuff that gives our favourite insect its name as in the service it provides as a pollinator of farms and gardens. If you add retailers’ profit to farm gate prices, their value to the UK economy is in the region of £1 billion a year, and 35% of our diet is directly dependent on them. It is an equation of stark simplicity. No pollination: no crops. There is nothing theoretical about it. The reality is in (or, more accurately, not in) the hives. The US has lost 70% of its honeybee colonies over the past two winters. Losses in the UK currently are running at 30% a year — up from just 6% in 2003….

February 1, 2009


Written by morris

February 1, 2009 at 9:07 pm

Posted in Bees, Environment, food

Tagged with , ,

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