Are you missing the summer….. I am and I especially miss the bees. 🙂
I love bees, I find them fascinating; just watching them and how industrious they are, how they hover so elegantly in the air and then dart onto and into the next flower!
It’s so sad that they’re in decline where I live in the UK and indeed all over the world. If we don’t have bees we don’t have our greatest pollinators; it doesn’t matter if they are honey, bumble, wild bees or the many other sub-species of them.
I think the problem is that there are so many things that are effecting them at this moment in time which include:
The mite/parasite varroa (in honey bees)
Habitats in the UK have been devastated quite badly due to intensive farming, where a lot of the fields that were once wildflower meadows have been destroyed to make way for huge fields to plant out large crops. Because these meadows have gone they have taken the many species of flowers that the bees use for pollination and cross-pollination. Also a lot of farmers now instead of leaving some small borders round fields just leave small grass verges without any flowers of any sort in them. We really need farmers to understand that without the help of these tiny insects, and without pollination by them, the human race won’t survive – because we all need food!
Habitat loss has also occurred in our own gardens, mostly due to the fact that houses built-in the UK now-days are getting smaller as indeed is garden space which comes with them. A lot of the new-builds have mostly a small patio and a small amount of grass and no flowers, some don’t even have these. In front gardens in urban and city areas gardens have gone and have been replaced by concrete or brick driveways due to the lack of parking outside their houses or on the roadsides. This means that there are no flowers in front gardens and very few in back gardens to help bees pollinate. We can help, we can try to put in some borders or put small pots of bee friendly plants out for them and all of the other pollinators out there. If you have a bigger garden maybe you could create a wildflower meadow, whether its big or small it doesn’t matter, it all helps and its fun too! 🙂
Here’s a link to the Bumblebee Conservation Trusts website for general information: Here You could look for bee friendly flowers to plant and have a look around the site for general information on different species of bees – it’s a great site. 🙂
Varroa (varroa destructor):
Varroa destructor was discovered in this country (the UK) in 1992 and effects both the western honey bee and Asian honey bee – this is worldwide except in Australia. The mite feeds off adult, pupal and larval honey bees and is deadly to their colonies.
Varroa usually appears in colonies between autumn and spring (early spring). Highly spreadable through this period it can cause complete loss of a colony.
Although there is no known cure for this disease, there have been tests in the US where they may have developed a line of bees that remove the parasite from bee pupae – here is a link for that information: Here
There is lots more information that I could have put in here about varroa but it might have ended up as a thesis :D, so here are some links about Varroa if you are interested in knowing more:
I could write quite a lot more on some of the things that are effecting our lovely bees; Neonicotinoids and CCD (Colony Collapse Disease) are another two things that have been researched, although nothing has been conclusively found about Neonicotinoids, some scientist’s believe they have a massive impact on bees and others not so much. Myself, who believes in conservation, nature and wildlife do believe that this pesticide/insecticide has an effect which is why it has been banned in Europe – for the moment! (I will leave you to make up your own mind on this, my opinion is rather biased :D.)
If you would like to spend some time looking at how Neonicotinoids effect bees here’s a link to bees.pan-uk.org: Here It will take you to the Neonicotinoids page of the website. 🙂
On Colony Collapse Disease (CCD) scientists are currently doing research but are unclear on what is the main cause of this is. It really is not clear whether it might be Varroa, Neonicotinoids or the many other things that could be a factor. I did research on CCD and viewed websites but they were all in agreement that nothing has really been decided on what can cause such a debilitating thing to happen to honey bee colonies – it does not seem to effect other variety of bees yet.
Here are some of the sites I looked at if your interested:
If like me you love bees you might be interested in how to make your garden into a wildlife friendly garden, you might want to check out my friend Solariahues’ blog Here (you might have to go back a little bit to see how she created her garden, but its worth having a browse. 🙂 )
I hope this has been insightful and may have piqued your curiosity to help our lovely bees. If you can do something to help them it would be great and just maybe we can stop their decline! 😀
A couple of pics from this summer from my garden to leave you with. 🙂