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Honeybee Deaths Reaching Crisis Point Threatening Fruit and Vegetable Pollination

1 in 3 of UK's honeybees did not survive winter and spring

Pollination of fruit and vegetables at risk

Britain's honeybees have suffered catastrophic losses this year, according to a survey of the nation's beekeepers, contributing to a shortage of honey and putting at risk the pollination of fruits and vegetables.

The survey by the British Beekeepers' Association (BBKA) revealed that nearly one in three of the UK's 240,000 honeybee hives did not survive this winter and spring.

The losses are higher than the one in five colonies reported dead earlier this year by the government after 10% of hives had been inspected.

The BBKA president, Tim Lovett, said he was very concerned about the findings: "Average winter bee losses due to poor weather and disease vary from between 5% and 10%, so a 30% loss is deeply worrying. This spells serious trouble for pollination services and honey producers." The National Bee Unit has attributed high bee mortality to the wet summer in 2007 and in the early part of this spring that confined bees to their hives. This meant they were unable to forage for nectar and pollen and this stress provided the opportunity for pathogens to build up and spread.

But the BBKA says the causes are unclear. Its initial survey of 600 members revealed a marked north-south divide, with 37% bee losses in the north, compared to 26% in the south. "We don't know why there is a difference and what is behind the high mortality," said Lovett.

The government recognises that the UK's honeybee hives - run by 44,000 mostly amateur beekeepers - contribute around £165m a year to the economy by pollinating many fruits and vegetables. "30% fewer honeybee colonies could therefore cost the economy some £50m and put at risk the government's crusade for the public to eat five portions of fresh fruit and vegetables a day," Lovett warned.

The Honey Association warned last month that English honey will run out by Christmas and no more will be available until summer 2009. It blames the shortage on fewer honeybees and farmers devoting more fields to wheat, which has soared in price but does not produce nectar.

The UK's leading honey company is so concerned by the crisis that it has pledged to donate money to honeybee research. From next month, for each jar of Rowse English honey sold in supermarkets 10p will be donated to a fund dedicated to improving the health of the nation's honeybees.

Full Story: http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/2008/aug/12/
conservation.wildlife1

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organicgal007
post Aug 17 2008, 01:26 PM



There is a new body care company called Beeceuticals that uses very clean ingredients and also helps support Bee restoration with some of their profits.
We need to plant our gardens to help support bee populations and stop using pesticides!!! I suspect the wide spread decline (google bee population and see the world wide epidemic at hand) is that the bees are finally loosing the battle to uncontrolled pesticide usage. It's not just in Britan but mainland Europe, USA, and other parts of the world.

wasko
post Yesterday, 05:36 PM


read Gunther Hauks book, Toward saving the Honeybee. Also check out the work they are doing at Spikenard Farm, in Illinois. Check it out: http://www.spikenardfarm.org/honeybees.shtml
We must be stewards of the honeybee, and not treat it like a commodity. It's distress is caused by being overworked and underfed, and falsly bred. Let the honeybee rest...let it swarm....create real queens....eat it's own harvest.

Honey Gal
post Yesterday, 10:45 PM


I'm a beekeeper and teach classes in bee stewardship. One thing folks can do to help, even if you aren't a beekeeper, is to make your yard bee friendly. Plant a flowering herb garden. Bees use herbs medicinally and your plants can help make a difference. I suggest rosemary, sage, THYME (lots of it), marjoram, chives, basil, all the mints and other herbs with flowers. Bees will find them. To do more, plant native flowering bushes, too. In our area (WA) spirea and goldenrod are bee magnets. Try to have flowers in bloom through into fall.

Put out a big shallow dish of water with sticks or moss in it (so they don't fall in) and keep it moist. If you can get seaweed, bees are particularly fond of the minerals so I keep a little pile of seaweed in the "bee pond." All these small actions add up and make it a little easier on your local bees.

JanetP
post Yesterday, 11:17 PM


Honey Gal, thank you for your advice! Herbs for medicine and seaweed for minerals, that's brilliant. And I would not have thought to put out water just for them. I am studying organic horticulture and I want to have bees someday myself. I am currently reading "Natural Beekeeping: Organic Approaches to Modern Apiculture" by Ross Conrad. I am also a resident of WA state, in Olympia. May I ask where you teach your bee classes?

JanetP

QUOTE (Honey Gal @ Aug 21 2008, 01:45 PM) *
I'm a beekeeper and teach classes in bee stewardship. One thing folks can do to help, even if you aren't a beekeeper, is to make your yard bee friendly. Plant a flowering herb garden. Bees use herbs medicinally and your plants can help make a difference. I suggest rosemary, sage, THYME (lots of it), marjoram, chives, basil, all the mints and other herbs with flowers. Bees will find them. To do more, plant native flowering bushes, too. In our area (WA) spirea and goldenrod are bee magnets. Try to have flowers in bloom through into fall.

Put out a big shallow dish of water with sticks or moss in it (so they don't fall in) and keep it moist. If you can get seaweed, bees are particularly fond of the minerals so I keep a little pile of seaweed in the "bee pond." All these small actions add up and make it a little easier on your local bees.



beesontoast
post Today, 09:36 AM


The BBKA are being disingenuous, as they actually endorse some of Bayer's pesticides as 'bee-friendly', even though they are known to kill bees! It is widely believed by many beekeepers and respected scientists that neo-nicotinoid pesticides are a likely cause of CCD symptoms, as they are lethal to bees in doses as low as 5 parts per billion, and as nerve agents will certainly have unpredictable effects at even lower doses. See www.bayer-kills-bees.com and www.britishbeekeeping.com for more.

beesontoast
post Today, 09:39 AM


The BBKA are being disingenuous, as they actually endorse some of Bayer's pesticides as 'bee-friendly', even though they are known to kill bees! It is widely believed by many beekeepers and respected scientists that neo-nicotinoid pesticides are a likely cause of CCD symptoms, as they are lethal to bees in doses as low as 5 parts per billion, and as nerve agents will certainly have unpredictable effects at even lower doses. See www.bayer-kills-bees.com and www.britishbeekeeping.com for more.