Friday 26 July 2013

We Need Action - not Words!

It frustrates me enormously that we are only recently reading the *breaking news* that artificially bred bumblebees are being imported to the UK - and that they are carrying diseases that are endangering our native bumblebees when the artificially bred bees escape into the wild.

This is NOT breaking news, it has been going on for YEARS but the media have not been interested!!! All of a sudden, now that 'bee decline' is worrying people from a human crop pollination view point, everyone seems to be reporting on this situation. Although they very rarely tell the whole story.

Of course it is in many ways a wonderful thing that this is finally being reported in the media because more people will sit up and take notice....but it's no good closing the stable door after the horse has already bolted. News like this needs to be disseminated much earlier if it is to make a difference to the bumblebees that are being bred and used for the purpose of pollinating our mono crops of tomatoes etc....and to the native bees that are, in turn, being exposed to the diseases that are already rife in artificially reared colonies.

I notice that most of the reports don't mention the fact that these beautiful, hard working little creatures are often reared on pollen and nectar substitutes and are artificially overwintered by exposing them to carbon dioxide. Worst of all, when they have finished doing the job of pollinating the tomatoes, they are not allowed to be released into the wild, or returned to Eastern Europe where they were bred, so they are DROWNED or FROZEN to death.

Breeding bumblebees artificially to pollinate our mono crops is, to me, abhorrent on every level. It reminds me of the battery chicken industry.

I'm also stunned that it is considered 'news' that cocktails of pesticides are contributing to bee decline.  Of course they are contributing to bee decline!!! This, also, has been known for decades. I remember reading research published many years ago telling us that dead bees have been found to contain up to 27 different pesticides in their poor little bodies. this is not rocket science and it didn't need millions of ££££s or $$$$s to be spent to tell us what we already know. This money would have been far better spent supporting farmers to switch to organic methods of farming when growing their crops.

Rachel Carson highlighted the problems that pesticides were causing for wildlife back in the sixties in her book 'Silent Spring', which is sadly as relevant today as it was 50 years ago.

What is wrong with the media, our government and the population in general, that we wait till things are so dire that our pollinators are in danger of becoming extinct before we even begin to discuss what we should do about the situation?!  I have had conversations with people recently who tell me they have read recently about bee decline, and that it all sounds very awful, but that they can't stop using pesticides because their roses would suffer and they couldn't possibly leave their lawns to grow longer to allow the clovers, vetches and self-heals to flower because it would look untidy. I can only conclude that these people are suffering from some kind of collective madness.

Apologies for the rant, but seriously, what is it going to take for people, organisations and governments to take this issue seriously enough to actually DO something about it instead of just talk about it? I'm delighted that it IS finally being reported in the media and that so many organisations (including many environmental and wildlife NGO's) that have ignored the issue of pesticides & bee decline till recently are finally speaking up, but we need ACTION to be taken immediately otherwise it will be too late.


First and foremost we must all plant more pollen and nectar rich flowers. All the advice you need to create a pollinator garden can be found on this website


If you are someone who uses insecticides, herbicides or fungicides on your garden, please look for alternatives. There are plenty out there and they are not difficult to find. All you need to do is search on google for 'Natural alternatives to pesticides'

Thank you for all that you do!

Brigit x

*Breaking news* about imported bumblebees - report in Telegraph 

*Breaking news* about cocktails of pesticides contributing to bee decline 

Taking Bees for Granted Interesting article