Category Archives: Environment

Honeybees may do more harm than good!

Buglife says:– “Contrary to a popular belief, adding more honeybees is not the answer to pollinator declines. In fact, it may do more harm than good.

… Pollination is about so much more than honeybees – there are estimated to be more than 4,000 species of insects in the UK that pollinate our crops and wild plants….

… over six months a single hive will use the resources that would otherwise have supported 200,000 wild bees, and the disrupting effect of honeybee hives on pollination services can have “serious negative impacts on biodiversity”. …

https://www.buglife.org.uk/blog/save-the-bees-but-which-ones

https://www.nature.com/articles/s41598-019-41271-5

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


 

First pollinator plant logo scheme backed by DNA-barcoding

“The National Botanic Garden of Wales launches first pollinator plant logo scheme in the UK to be backed by DNA-barcoding science.

It is being rolled out to growers & nurseries so shoppers are guaranteed eligible plants are loved by bees and other pollinating insects, don’t contain synthetic insecticides and are grown in peat-free compost.

It aims to prevent pollinator decline and benefit other wildlife such as hedgehogs, sparrows and frogs …”

Read more …

https://botanicgarden.wales/press/science-fact-fuels-campaign-to-stamp-out-pollinator-friendly-fiction/