Friday 26 August 2016


There are around 352,000 known species of flowering plant on this planet and around 87% of these are pollinated by insects and other animal pollinators.

Animal pollinators include 200,000 different species of birds, beetles, bees, moths, bats, flies, hover-flies, wasps, butterflies and small mammals.

The mutualistic relationship between these flowering plants and their pollinators has been evolving for over 100,000 million years, during which time both plant and pollinator have adapted and developed physical and behavioural characteristics so that each is now mutually dependent upon the other.

Fortunately it is rare for one plant to be reliant upon just one pollinator (and vica versa) - but there is a limit to how many individual plants or pollinators you remove from an eco system before that entire eco-system collapses.

As most of the planet's eco-systems rely upon the interaction between plant and pollinator for their survival - it is of paramount importance that we do everything we can to maintain this delicate balance.

Bees and other pollinators are not only important for their value as pollinators of food for human beings. Their importance stretches WAY beyond this! For instance.....when we lose the wildflowers that provide seeds for small farmland birds we lose those farmland birds.

Also, bees need the wild plants that they have co-evolved with to sustain them with pollen and nectar during times when the mono crops that now cover most of our countryside are not flowering.

From a human-centric point of view, we cannot rely on limited amount of monoculture crops to feed the world. We need to maintain biodiversity, because without it we will spiral into an extinction vortex.

All life in interconnected and pollinators need flowers - need pollinators - need flowers - need pollinators. It's very simple really.......

We need to plant  RIVERS OF FLOWERS !!!

Remember to source seeds and plants that have been grown organically and without using peat.

Try  Caves Folly or Bee Happy Plants

Wednesday 24 August 2016

It's not just about bees.....

Looking back through my blog posts and social media feeds, it is obvious that I write and talk a great deal about bees; their importance as pollinators; their beauty; the fascinating relationship they have with flowering plants; the differences between species; reasons for their decline (pesticides, habitat loss, climate change etc); and how we can help them survive.

Despite how it may appear on the surface though, these issues and the concerns they raise are neither as insular nor are they as 'bee-centric' as they seem. In fact, the issues affecting bees are simultaneously affecting all life on earth. Here are a few examples.....

1. At the same time that scientific advice and research supporting a call for a ban on neonicotinoid pesticides is often ignored or buried, information and research addressing myriad other issues is also ignored and buried. 

2. Pesticides (including insecticides, fungicides and herbicides) don't only harm bees. They harm other wildlife and, of course, human beings. They do this directly and indirectly.

3. Habitat loss and intensive agriculture do not just affect bees. They affect all other wildlife and are causing loss of biodiversity on a catastrophic scale.

4. As we continue to lose bee populations/species we will simultaneously continue to lose the plants rely upon them for pollination. This, in turn, will bring about the loss of more wild flowers, farmland birds, small mammals and, ultimately, the collapse of entire eco-systems.

5. Whilst multinational agrochemical corporations like Bayer & Syngenta continue to manufacture toxic bee killing chemicals like neonicotinoids, other equally powerful corporations like Monsanto, Dupont, BASF and Dow Chemical are manufacturing similarly toxic and damaging substances that are gradually poisoning our planet.

6. Climate change is already causing irreversible problems for some bee species…. but this is just the tip of the iceberg. Bees are just one of the many canaries in this particular mineshaft.

7. Disease & infection in bee populations (honeybees & wild bees) is symptomatic of what is happening on a wider scale with birds, bats, amphibians, human beings etc. etc.

So, it's not just about bees. But... planting flowers for pollinators, getting to know and recognise the bees and other insects in your garden, not using pesticides, signing petitions asking our government to listen to our views on the neonicotinoid issue etc.... are all part of a far bigger picture. Those of us who campaign to raise awareness of bee decline may appear to be focussed on just one single issue, but nothing works in isolation.

Everything is interconnected and if we get it right for bees, it follows that we will get it right for ALL life on earthLearning to fall in love with bees is just one of the many ways we can re-establish our relationship and connection with the wonderful world around us.
Vive les abeilles!