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beesontoast


Latest posts by beesontoast

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SYSTEMIC PESTICIDES

Posted: 27/07/2012 at 21:02

Honeybadger - I agree. Some of the radio and TV gardening presenters are far too ready to pull out the bug-killers instead of looking for biological controls. Makes you wonder if some of them have been 'got at' by vested interests.

Given that Bayer hand out 'freebies' to local horticutural societies, it wouldn't be surprising if certain prominent presenters had been recruited.

 

SYSTEMIC PESTICIDES

Posted: 23/07/2012 at 17:10

The main reason they do better in the cities is the relatively light use of pesticides by gardeners compared to farmers and the greater density of useful forage.

A huge amount of our countryside is covered by wind-pollinated crops that have no food value whatsoever for bees - wheat, barley, rye grass, maize - while those that are potentially useful are often planted using seed that is pre-treated with systemic neonicotnoids (espe. Clothianidin) that render the entire plant toxic to all invertebrates, whether in the soil or on the plant itself. These same chemicals also leach into surface water and kill fish. 

 

bees

Posted: 23/07/2012 at 17:04

Best leave bumblebees and other solitary bees alone - it's very hard to move them and they won't like you for trying! They will hardly ever sting unless severely provoked. 

Honeybees when swarming - contrary to popular belief and media hype - are almost always in a good mood and I routinely handle them without gloves or other protetive clothing. If you do come across a honeybee swarm, post a mesage on the Natural Beekeeping Forum and someone in your area will give them a good home.

 

SYSTEMIC PESTICIDES

Posted: 23/07/2012 at 10:50

There are places where bees are managing to get by, despite the concerted assault on them by the agri-pesticide industry.

Much of our farmland is now a toxic wasteland, where invertebrates and those that live on them are struggling to suvive. I went for a five-mile walk on the eastern edge of Dartmoor yesterday and saw only one - yes one - solitary insectivorous bird in three hours. I saw no more than half a dozen butterflies, five bumblebees and no honeybees at all, despite there being at least 16 species of plants in flower.

My town bees are doing well, as I live in a place full of gardens and where most people are very aware of the dangers of using garden pesticides (except see above). I fear that large parts of England are becoming no-go areas for our most important pollinators and they will go into terminal decline unless people get the message soon.

 

SYSTEMIC PESTICIDES

Posted: 22/07/2012 at 19:40

I collected a swarm of bees from a neighbour's garden the other day. She spent most of the time apologizing about how 'untidy' the garden was, as some Welsh poppies and Herb Robert had had the temerity to show themselves and *gasp* actually flower (!) among her ghastly, manicured shrubs. 

I commented that they were rather pretty and were actually the only flowers in the garden, so wouldn't it be a good idea to leave them to grow?

She said she was planning to spray them as soon as her recent leg fracture healed...

Sadly, I think this is far too representative of the attitude of many gardeners towards 'weeds' that are actually more attractive than the ugly, imported evergreens so many grow now. 

And these same gardeners are also much too keen to reach for insecticides - luckily I intercepted her before she sprayed the bees - including the dangerously persistent and proven bee-killers too freely sold to people who don't understand the implications of rendering their plants permanently toxic to insects.

Neonicotinoids are killing the insects on which so much else depends, including birds and bees. It's time they were banned, in my opinion.

 

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