The Wildlife Trusts have published a new report ‘Reversing the decline of insects’ which shows how people, in every part of society, wherever they live, can take action to bring back insects. Everyone, everywhere, is being asked to become an insect champion.
The report cites examples of farmers, communities, councils and charities that are boosting insect populations and proving that it can be done.
The report comes at a critical time for insects. There is ongoing evidence for insect declines and the future of insects – and all life that depends on them – hangs in the balance as trade deals threaten to increase the use of insect-harming pesticides. Furthermore, the Agriculture Bill is progressing through Parliament presenting a unique opportunity to ensure farmers pursue insect-friendly farming methods.
The publication follows the ‘Insect declines and why they matter’ report, launched last year, which examined mounting evidence that insect populations are close to collapse and concluded that “the consequences are clear; if insect declines are not halted, terrestrial and freshwater ecosystems will collapse, with profound consequences for human wellbeing.”
Insects are in trouble according to Prof Dave Goulson and he believes gardeners have an important role to play in reversing their decline. Dave Goulson’s garden is a good example.
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?
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.
“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.
Buglife are pleased to report the discovery of the Carrot Mining Bee (Andrena nitidiuscula) in Wales for the very first time! Buglife Cymru staff undertaking bee surveys as part of the ‘Searching for Scabious’ project made the discovery during a recent visit to Lavernock Point Nature Reserve – a Wildlife Trust of South and West Wales (WTSWW) reserve in the Vale of Glamorgan, south Wales.
Read more …
A BBC web site report …
A “nationally scarce” species of bee has been found in Newport for the first time, conservationists say.
Buglife Cymru said it discovered a “strong population” of small scabious mining bees at St Julian’s Park local nature reserve last week. It said it marked the first time the species had been found in the city or the surrounding area. Conservation officer Liam Olds said: “To discover a new population of this rare bee in Newport is very exciting. ….
Bee Friendly Monmouthshire has produced a video featuring a small garden in Monmouthshire where wildlife friendly habitat has resulted in presence of a high number of bee and wasp species.
“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 …”
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This year (2020) has seen significantly more wild meadow areas across Monmouthshire’s open spaces, as the council’s ground maintenance teams have left verges and parks largely unmowed to allow wild flowers to grow and attract more pollinators. These measures have helped to support biodiversity and contribute to Monmouthshire County Council’s climate change action plan. Feedback has been very positive, and it the council’s actions were recently highlighted by the BBC natural history series Springwatch.
A Guardian newspaper report:-
“A lack of bees in agricultural areas is limiting the supply of some food crops, a new US-based study has found, suggesting that declines in the pollinators may have serious ramifications for global food security.
Species of wild bees, such as bumblebees, are suffering from a loss of flowering habitat, the use of toxic pesticides and, increasingly, the climate crisis. Managed honeybees, meanwhile, are tended to by beekeepers, but have still been assailed by disease, leading to concerns that the three-quarters of the world’s food crops dependent upon pollinators could falter due to a lack of bees.
Of seven studied crops grown in 13 states across America, five showed evidence that a lack of bees is hampering the amount of food that can be grown, including apples, blueberries and cherries. A total of 131 crop fields were surveyed for bee activity and crop abundance by a coalition of scientists from the US, Canada and Sweden. …. ”
Read more :-