Category Archives: Environment

Why do we need insects?

  1. To pollinate 87% of plants. 75% crops need insect pollination.
  2. Recycle dung, leaves, corpses.
  3. Keep soils healthy.
  4. Control pests, though they can also be pests.
  5. Food for larger animals eg. fish. Crickets are 12 times more efficient than cows in converting vegetation into digestible body mass, produce little or no methane and use 55 times less water.
  6. Insects are in all food chains.

Problems –

German nature reserve studies – over 27 years the insect biomass has dropped by 75%. Forest and grassland had a 40% drop over 10 years.
UK butterflies – over 41 years a 46% drop in common species numbers. 77% drop in rare species numbers.
US studies – 70% drop in insectivorous birds in 20 years.

Source:- Dave Goulson “Silent Earth” 2021

Widespread continued use of bee-killing neonicotinoid pesticides

“Countries across Europe are exploiting a loophole to allow widespread continued use of bee-killing neonicotinoid pesticides, two years after the EU introduced a landmark ban on their use.

The EU agreed a ban on all outdoor uses of the neonicotinoid insecticides clothianidin, imidacloprid, and thiamethoxam on 27 April 2018, in order to protect bees.

However, an Unearthed investigation has found that in the two years since the ban was agreed, EU countries have issued at least 67 different “emergency authorisations” for outdoor use of these chemicals…”

https://unearthed.greenpeace.org/2020/07/08/bees-neonicotinoids-bayer-syngenta-eu-ban-loophole/

Buglife “B-Lines”

The B-Lines are a series of ‘insect pathways’ running through our countryside and towns, along which we are restoring and creating a series of wildflower-rich habitat stepping stones. They link existing wildlife areas together, creating a network, like a railway, that will weave across the British landscape. This will provide large areas of brand new habitat benefiting bees and butterflies– but also a host of other wildlife.

https://www.buglife.org.uk/our-work/b-lines/

Surveying

We need more data on bees and other insects :-

Bumblebee Conservation Trust
https://www.bumblebeeconservation.org/surveys/
An overview of survey opportunities.

BeeWalk
https://www.beewalk.org.uk/
Count bumblebees seen once a month on a 2km walk.

UK Pollinator Monitoring Scheme (PoMS).
https://www.ceh.ac.uk/our-science/projects/pollinator-monitoring
Count the number of insects visiting a patch of flowers for 10 minutes.
Flower-Insect Timed Count (FIT Count).

iRecord
https://www.brc.ac.uk/irecord/enter-casual-record
Record seeing a single species.

iSpot
https://www.ispotnature.org/
Get help identifing a single species.

SEWBReC South East Wales Biodiversity Records Centre
http://www.sewbrec.org.uk/
Enter records of species seen in South East Wales.

Wales Biodiversity Partnership
https://www.biodiversitywales.org.uk/Monitoring

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‘Bee-killing’ pesticide now will not be used on UK sugar beet fields

A Guardian newspaper article:-

“A pesticide which reduces bee populations and was to be used in England’s sugar beet fields this year will not be used after recent cold weather killed off virus-transmitting aphids…..”

https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2021/mar/03/bee-killing-pesticide-now-will-not-be-used-on-uk-sugar-beet-fields?fbclid=IwAR0tOvOeuetwoExDrEe8efFQqw-w9FwusIG73Kt-SW6vV7sHQ6cxnQM1jZM

Bee Species Down by 25% since 1990

The Guardian newspaper says:-

“The number of wild bee species recorded by an international database of life on Earth has declined by a quarter since 1990, according to a global analysis of bee declines. They found a steep decline in bee species being recorded since 1990, with approximately 25% fewer species reported between 2006 and 2015 than before the 1990s…..”

https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2021/jan/22/quarter-of-known-bee-species-have-not-been-recorded-since-1990

https://www.cell.com/one-earth/fulltext/S2590-3322(20)30651-5

EU to end the export of banned agrochemicals to Third World countries

As reported by Greenpeace the EU has pledged to bring to an end the deplorable practice of sending thousands of tonnes of pesticides and herbicides which are banned in Europe to poor third world countries with weaker regulations.

The UK is a major exporter of these banned pesticides but this new proposed legislation won’t apply to us as we are no longer members of the EU.

Many of these banned agrochemicals pose a threat to bees and other pollinators, not to mention people. For example the herbicide Paraquat is manufactured for Syngenta in its factory here in Huddersfield. We are not the only culprits, however, as 10 other EU countries, including Germany and France, are guilty of exporting similar prohibited chemicals.

The date set for action is 2023.

Will the UK follow suit?

https://unearthed.greenpeace.org/2020/10/15/eu-banned-pesticide-exports-public-eye/

Promote wildlife and have a profitable arable farm

Farmers Weekly 11th Sept 20 has an article about an RSPB owned commercial arable farm.

In 2019, the farm was benchmarked against other local farm businesses and though crops varied in profitability, this was typical compared to the other farms.

!n 2019, the farm went completely insecticide free and saw no reduction in yields compared with previous years, making small savings on the products.

One quote:-
“Though we had aphids in the beans last year, there were loads of ladybirds and larvae too, and within 10 days there were only ladybirds left and the beans didn’t suffer at all,”

The farm is planting wildflower corridors through fields to increase access to beneficial insects, compost spreading and sowing cover crops as part of the Centre of Ecology and Hydrology and Rothamsted Research’s Achieving Sustainable Agricultural Systems programme.

https://www.fwi.co.uk/news/environment/how-to-make-wildlife-conservation-with-profitable-arable-farming