Posted: 02/06/2013 at 08:51
I don't think domestic gardeners and allotment holders should be blaming themselves too much for the lack of bees. My husband, a beekeeper, is pretty convinced that it's a combination of cold and starvation that has killed so many colonies this last winter. For what it's worth, he was very attentive to his bees and his colonies all survived, although some are not strong.
As regards spraying and pesticides, the amounts used by gardeners are tiny compared with what's sprayed on the fields and verges etc. We're pretty sure that the weather is the biggest factor here - it's been such a cold, wet year with a late spring and consequent lack of forage when the bees did venture out.