Is it time to put the brakes on the boom in beekeeping?

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madasafish 

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The study the article refers to is here: State of the World's Plants and Fungi | Kew. It has a good degree of credibility, it would seem.

Anecdotally, I'd add that for a while I looked after five hives that a company dropped in the middle of Sussex farmland. They struggled to gather enough forage to survive: I had to feed them almost constantly, and got no honey from them. Goodness knows how their competitors -- the other 270+ species of bee -- survived.

On the question of journalism, something I do have a lifetime's worth of experience of, I can tell you that you get what you pay for. And everyone wants news for free.

And as far as the Guardian is concerned, I wouldn't argue for a second that it's perfect. Nowhere close. But at least it has a set of guiding principles about truth, and the quality and accuracy of its journalism, and isn't beholden to a bunch of offshore billionaires with vested interests, unlike 80% of the UK's mass media.
Its easy to target Beekeepers never get to the real issue of the fields of green without a weed or flower,Years ago I used to pick mushrooms in the local fields now you would be lucky to see one.All due to most farmers being brainwashed by the agro chemical companies that all weeds are bad.

The Green Revolution was based on fertiliser and insecticides. Before it ,India was a basket case (1960s/70s) and always had famines . After it, they fed themselves.

So not all bad.

But the insecticides were crude and killed every insect.

By all means decry insecticides. But if you don't have a viable alternative, you will end up with crops ravaged.
So wanting to ban all insecticides with no viable alternatives offered is no solution.

See neonics being banned. Much more deadly alternatives are being used or crops abandoned as not viable.

It is NOT black and white.
Anyone who suggests it is can be ignored.
 

Patrick1 

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But we also had people giving up beekeeping in droves - for no other reason than they only started because of sugar rationing, now it was freely available why bother keeping bees. Nothing to do with habitat, population or urban sprawl.
That's why anyone using 1952 as a benchmark is beginning any argument with a false premise
You have to start somewhere, to many variables to pin it on just foraging.
 

Patrick1 

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Ah yes, 1952 - the same date/figures that everyone uses to prove the decline in honeybees. it's a pity they didn't have data from 1938 to use as a benchmark or at least use 1952's correct relevance.
Colony numbers boomed during the war years due to the government drive to encourage beekeeping as an alternative sugar source, honey wasn't rationed and also beekeepers were given a sugar ration for the bees winter feed and spring 'stimulation' (wise beekeepers like my grandfather managed to keep this for own consumption)
And the relevance of 1952? it was the year sugar rationing was stopped, thousands of backyard beekeepers gave up beekeeping and colony numbers reverted to pre war 'normal' figures, so yes, there was a big drop in figures in the 1950's but only because it had been artificially raised in the 1940's.
No, 1952 was the year I was born, far more important 😊 😊
 

bobba 

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I think there is an element of truth to the article. Sure honey bees compete with other bees for nectar.

But I think they are vastly exaggerating the issue.

I personally think that the decline in some bee species is mostly down to destruction and changes in their habitat. And I dont think reducing the number of honey bees will make the native populations recover.

We tarmac more ground every year. Then there is the old mono culture and pesticides, but now I see fields being converted into solar panels. Worse sill I have seen panels placed on some areas of land, that for years had been marginal, scrub land that was not farmed. One patch in particular was always left wild, but now has panels. Once a variety of wild flowers and brambles, now neat panels with short regularly mowed grass.

So to try and pin the sole blame for the decline of 6000 different species on honey bees when there are so many factors involved is frankly just stupid.

The pieces is indicative of what I call "modern journalism science", it has all the trappings. PHD professor says it, so it must be true, we present you with only a single possible cause and theory is presented as fact. And the whole thing would not be complete without a narrative of doom.

It would never had made the printing press if it did not promote an over simplified hypotheses as there is no room for nuanced debate.
 

bobba 

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The Green Revolution was based on fertiliser and insecticides. Before it ,India was a basket case (1960s/70s) and always had famines . After it, they fed themselves.
Please - research for yor self what happened in India following the green revolution. In short it was considered to be a failure, leading to environmental devastation and an untold number of suicides. It is being abandon on mass in favor of more sustainable methods.
 

Nige.Coll 

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I've had bees at the same site for several years now. The average colonies are about the same for most years.
There was a 70-acre solar farm built in the field next door and planted with wildflowers with a nature wetland at the bottom of the field.
Since that has been built the number of wild insects has increased exponentially over the years.
When it was farmed the number of insects was very low other than my bees.
There are more bumblebees even some not so common species, more butterflies, flies, wasps and hornets.
Birds of prey like kestrels and buzzards have moved in and the place is alive with wildlife.
Nearly ran over a grass snake on the lane last week. Not seen one of those for many years.
The bonus to me is the honey crop from that apiary has gone up by about 200lbs at least.
I really don't think honeybees have much to do with the decline in other species, loss of habitat and forage is the main cause the tongue length differences between different species of bee rules out competition on a lot of forage.
 

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I think uk intensive farming has had a huge impact on biodiversity in the countryside. My Parents live in a remote area and have a good amount of house martins and swifts, buzzards, but very little else. I'm in a semi rural village location, less than 5 miles from a city. I have bats, owls, loads of different bee's, frogs, newts and pigeons!! I hate the pigeons but have far more "wildlife" than a rural house in my county, of course other localities and areas will be different.
Have you parrots there,how much?
 

pnkemp 

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Thing I took from the article was the continual emphasis on honeybess versus *native* bees. I thought honey bees *were* native to Europe and the UK?
 

madasafish 

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Thing I took from the article was the continual emphasis on honeybess versus *native* bees. I thought honey bees *were* native to Europe and the UK?

Well you and I might think so but remember this is propaganda we are talking about and truth is its first victim.

(see also politicians)
 

Wilco 

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Have you parrots there,how much?
Contact the BBKA?

Parakeets in South Birmingham & Solihull.
And Surrey. Expanding range so see the occasional one here on the Hampshire border and just waiting to pick them off with the air rifle if they reach the garden. Our native species have enough issues without these things.
 

Erichalfbee 

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Contact the BBKA?



And Surrey. Expanding range so see the occasional one here on the Hampshire border and just waiting to pick them off with the air rifle if they reach the garden. Our native species have enough issues without these things.
Awful. When I first moved to London suburbs in 1976 we had all sorts of birds in Bushy Park where I walked the dogs. I moved away and on my return in 1985 the bloomin things were everywhere. Screaming away and drowning out all birdsong. The park authorities had put up boxes for the jackdaws and even they were bamboozled out.
I agree with the rifle 😱
 

jenkinsbrynmair 

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Too many - but not nearly enough
Awful. When I first moved to London suburbs in 1976 we had all sorts of birds in Bushy Park where I walked the dogs. I moved away and on my return in 1985 the bloomin things were everywhere. Screaming away and drowning out all birdsong. The park authorities had put up boxes for the jackdaws and even they were bamboozled out.
I agree with the rifle 😱
There is a good recipe for parakeet pie on Mrs Beeton's maybe Jamie Oliver could do something useful for a change and promote that.
 

Patrick1 

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Clover as an under crop, is gaining popularity effectively redressing the balance along with crops for good land management and re wilding. London is greener than it has ever been from roofs to bus stops verges left uncut to gardens.

like I have said before, verry difficult to justify the too many bee argument.😊 Now if you would like to suggest too many golfers and scalped lawns we could agree 😊
 

Wilco 

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They do tend to hog the nuts and make a right racket but we like having them around.

And what do all the native birds think? In-laws further into Parakeet territory report regular exclusion of native birds when the yobs turn up.
 

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