Author Archives: BfM_admin

Advice on Neonics rejected

The Observer newspaper says :- “the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs has decided to waive restrictions on the use of a class of highly dangerous powerful toxins and permit their release on crops. Neonicotinoids have been described as the Novichok of bees: a single teaspoon is sufficient to kill more than a billion, say scientists.”

https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2023/jan/29/the-observer-view-on-the-uks-toxic-stance-on-sugar-farming

Pollinator losses causing 500,000 early deaths a year

A Guardian newspaper article :-

“The global loss of pollinators is already causing about 500,000 early deaths a year by reducing the supply of healthy foods, a study has estimated.

Three-quarters of crops require pollination but the populations of many insects are in sharp decline. The inadequate pollination that results has caused a 3%-5% loss of fruit, vegetable and nut production, the research found. The lower consumption of these foods means about 1% of all deaths can now be attributed to pollinator loss, the scientists said…. “

https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2023/jan/09/global-pollinator-losses-causing-500000-early-deaths-a-year-study

Can you add your dots for pollinators to B-Lines?

From the Monmouthshire Meadows newsletter. www.monmouthshiremeadows.org.uk

“Pollinators, other insects and the wildlife that depends on them need connected flower-rich habitats to feed, breed and thrive.

We’ve been asked if we can help Bug Life with their ambitious B-Lines project. The aim is to establish a 3km wide, mapped, insect superhighway across UK towns and countryside with north-south and east-west highways in each county. In the countryside this can include wildflower-rich meadows, scrub mosaics, species-rich hedgerows, wetlands, heathland and native woodland. In more built-up environments it may include pollinator friendly and chemical free gardens, ponds, parks, window boxes, green roofs or living walls.  Over 2,500 dots have been added to the B-Lines map by individuals, businesses, local authorities, farmers and more, with over 3,500 hectares of wildflower habitat work completed, but they need more to achieve their ambitious aim.  
 
Anyone who has enhanced or created habitat for pollinators can add their site to the map, to identify existing corridors and show areas where there is a potential to join sites. At MMG we have added our reserves, and I’ve added our home fields to the map. It is already starting to show a number of dots around Monmouthshire. It would give Bug Life a boost if we were able to add some more.  “

Here’s the link to information and the option to add your site on the interactive map
https://www.buglife.org.uk/our-work/b-lines/

Vegetation-free patches encourage ground-nesting wild bees

“Relatively little is known about the nesting requirements of ground-nesting wild bees, although nesting sites are of central importance for most wild bee species. There are almost 600 wild bee species in Germany and 75% nest in the soil. To date, however, most of the research has concentrated on the wild bee species that nest above ground in cavities.
Now, researchers at the University of Göttingen have shown in a study on calcareous grasslands that the removal of vegetation in small areas led to a significant increase in ground nests, especially if there was a high abundance of flowering plants nearby…”

https://phys.org/news/2022-11-vegetation-free-patches-ground-nesting-wild-bees.html?

The Importance of Pollinators

Buglife says “One out of every three mouthfuls of our food depends on pollinators. It is almost impossible to over-emphasise the importance of the service pollinators perform for us.

Many plants rely on insects to pollinate their flowers and so complete their reproductive cycle – most plants cannot set seed without being pollinated (receiving the pollen, usually from another flower). Without bees, hoverflies and other insects visiting flowers, there would be no strawberries, apples, avocados, chocolate, cherries, olives, blueberries, carrots, grapes, pumpkins, pears, plums or peanuts…. And very few flowers in our gardens and countryside.

It is estimated that 84% of EU crops (valued at £12.6 billion) and 80% of wildflowers rely on insect pollination…”

https://www.buglife.org.uk/bugs/featured-bugs/pollinators/

Bumblebee Conservation Trust – statement on pesticides

The Bumblebee Conservation Trust has published a new evidence-based position statement on the impacts that pesticides can have on bumblebees. We have set out five key recommendations to help policy makers, local authorities, businesses and individuals reduce the negative impacts that pesticides can have on bumblebees and other non-target animals. In most situations this means not using pesticides at all.

A summary of the statement is included below…

https://www.bumblebeeconservation.org/new-pesticide-position-statement/?

Sixty years after the book that launched environmental movement there is still Government’s inaction on pesticides.

The national charity Buglife says – “The UK Government’s “dither and delay” approach to pesticide policy continues to put the health of our natural world at serious risk, sixty years after author Rachel Carson first sounded the alarm about the hidden harms of these toxic chemicals in her book “Silent Spring”.

On the 60th anniversary of the ground-breaking exposé, experts in The Pesticide Collaboration are calling out the UK Government for failing to adequately protect human health and the environment from pesticides. Since official records began in 1990, the UK has covered over 700 million hectares in pesticides – enough to douse every inch of the UK 14 times over. Meanwhile, pesticides linked to cancer are still routinely used in parks and playgrounds by local councils, up and down the country… “

https://www.buglife.org.uk/news/sixty-years-later-book-that-launched-environmental-movement-exposes-governments-inaction-on-pesticides/

Bumblebees get a buzz out of playing with balls

Guardian newspaper report – “Bumblebees are associated with lives of work rather than play, but researchers have for the first time observed the insects playing with balls for enjoyment, just like humans and dogs.

A team of UK scientists watched bees interacting with inanimate objects as a form of play and said the findings added to growing evidence that their minds are more complex than previously imagined…”

https://www.theguardian.com/science/2022/oct/27/bumblebees-playing-wooden-balls-bees-study?

B-Lines


B-Lines are a UK-wide network of wildflower rich areas for insects and other wildlife. They are being developed by Buglife –

www.buglife.org.uk

New B-Lines are being created in Newport (and Neath Port-Talbot) and there are existing routes though all of Monmouthshire. Pollinators will benefit, including rare species such as the Shrill Carder bee and Long-horned bee which can be found in Monmouthshire.