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Tuesday, October 21, 2008


There has been a couple of frightening stories regarding Bees recently.

One reports that Bumbleebees are responsible for pollinating a range of British fruits and vegetables including raspberries, potatoes and tomatoes. Of the the 25 species of British bumbles three are nationally extinct and many more are seriously threatened.

Professor David Goulson, co-founder of The Bumblebee Conservation Trust, said

There are lots of plant species out there which will never produce offspring without the bumble bees to fertilise them," he said. "If the plant disappears it will then cause the disappearance of lots of other species higher up the food chain leading to ecological disaster.

Apparently there are 30% fewer Honey Bees this year and this combined with another wet summer has resulted in a honey shortage.

According to Stuart Bailey, chairman of the UK's biggest producer, Rowse Honey:

Supplies continue to dribble through and we might have enough for another six weeks or so but I expect it to be gone before Christmas.

It has been a terrible, terrible year possibly the worst for 28 years. Bee numbers are down again and the weather has been so bad it has prevented them from foraging. We will be lucky if the total honey crop this year amounts to 2,000 tonnes

Now it may sound to some a trivial thing but this is very serious. The economic impact of bees is huge and the £290,000 ear marked by Defra into the research regarding Bee decline is pitiful.


Anonymous said...


Mum keeps a part of her lawn unmowed and wild, especially for the bees and butterflies. Just a drop in the ocean.

Anna said...

Um... potatoes and tomatoes are (mostly) self-pollinating. No insects required (although with greenhouse tomatoes that aren't visited by insects it helps if you tap the stems a little to vibrate the flowers and help the pollen fall on to the female flower bit that I momentarily can't remember the name of).

And with potatoes, it's very rare that you get fruit forming. Potatoes are almost exclusively propagated vegetatively, using "seed" potatoes. My potatoes flowered this year (no fruits though) but didn't seem to be of any interest to the insects, including the millions of bumble bees buzzing round all summer.

Anonymous said...

I've noticed a dramatic drop over the past couple of years in the number of bees visiting my garden.

I was wondering why the courgettes were doing so badly, till a friend pointed out that there weren't any bees pollinating them. So I had a crash course in how to sex a courgette and I did it myself. An interesting operation!

Tricia said...

'Tis frightening indeed when considering the consequences of a lack of bees and I'm aware there's been much publicized about this dilemma recently.

In fact there's a farmer (in the Cotswolds) who is blaming his lack of Corguettes on the lack of bees due to (in his opinion) the poor summer weather keeping the bees grounded.

A life without honey - dreadful! A life without bees - doesn't bear thinking about - for all reasons!

oldcrow61 said...

This is tragic! I keep a good part of my property wild for bees and butterflies, etc. and grow plants specifically for them, but as diddums says, it's just a drop in the ocean.