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

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Repwoc 

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Blooming pollinators pinching nectar from my honeybee garden! :)

But seriously - these tree bees are "competing" with my garden bees and don't seem to have a problem, in fact they have a monopoly on this lavender.

Actually tree bees aren't native so they probably don't count in the conservationists eyes.
 

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StephenT 

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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.
I took a photo of them protesting the other day.
They have not had any noticeable impact in our garden apart from scaring the other birds off the bird feeder on occasions. The bigger issue is people sanitising their gardens of all ivy and suchlike and so the birds don’t have good nesting sites and food sources.
 

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Wilco 

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I took a photo of them protesting the other day.
They have not had any noticeable impact in our garden apart from scaring the other birds off the bird feeder on occasions. The bigger issue is people sanitising their gardens of all ivy and suchlike and so the birds don’t have good nesting sites and food sources.
Both are pretty important sublethal effects. Just like the big impact of cats (and dogs) which no-one talks about- not predation but the sublethal effect of reducing feeding, reproduction and other behaviours just by being there...
 

madasafish 

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Both are pretty important sublethal effects. Just like the big impact of cats (and dogs) which no-one talks about- not predation but the sublethal effect of reducing feeding, reproduction and other behaviours just by being there...

Our local sparrow hawks do a good job of culling the odd bird.
 

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bobba 

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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.

Its pleasing to hear the panels have been good for your bees and the other wildlife and thank you for sharing such a positive account.

"The bonus to me is the honey crop from that apiary has gone up by about 200lbs at least." - It is very interesting that you can put a number to how much yield you have gained from the panel site. Now you just have to measure the site on google earth, then work out the honey per m2 for me :) (I am being serious, I would really like to know)

I guess whether panels are good or bad all depends on what was there before and how the land around the panels is managed.

I observed another solar panels site today, its a place I drive past so dont normally pay much attention. And at this site the grass looked longer and I could dandelions and other wild flowers.

So it looks to me that different site operators have different policies regarding how the land is managed.

But could not agree more regarding loss of habitat and forage being the prime contributing factor for the decline.
 

hemo 

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Honey bees , small hover flies and humbles all been busy on my Persicaria 'firetail' which is in full bloom, my main shrub is now mahoosive and the various splits from the above ground rhyzome/tubers are fast catching up in size. This time of year and all summer in to Autumn it is a popular plant for insects even the wasps love it, tens of thousands of very small flowers giving nectar. I would say a must have plant in a sunny spot.
 

Karol 

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<snip>

See neonics being banned. Much more deadly alternatives are being used or crops abandoned as not viable.
Define more deadly? Neonics have been banned for good reason. Other insecticides might well be more directly hazardous to honeybees and may well be less convenient and possibly more costly to use but they have a fraction of the potency of neonics and are not used prophylactically to swamp the ground whether there's a need for them or not.

It is NOT black and white.
Anyone who suggests it is can be ignored.
Absolutely not black and white especially in the case of neonics. Integrated pest management requires judicious use of controls resorting to insecticides when necessary and not as first line convenience. That's simply good stewardship of the land and waterways.
 

HughMann 

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So wanting to ban all insecticides with no viable alternatives offered is no solution.
.......................for humans
For over 925,000 identified species of insects, it is probably a great option
 

Poly Hive 

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Around here in the Broders miles of new hedges are being put in with a fair amount of hawthorn. The habitat loss is tractor driven. Look at the size of the classic little grey fergie which was designed for the small fields that existed then, fields designed for horse work. Now look at the tractors. In my lifetime its gone from mid 70's when 140 HP was the biggest in the uk to 400+ with a pro rata increase in size. Thats there the hedges went. On another note the wife put in a tiny plug plant in the border here and it took off this year and at a minimum there are 4+ bumbles (the record so far is 9)on it all day long. I'll try to get it identified.
 

jenkinsbrynmair 

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Too many - but not nearly enough
And yet up until the 1850's and the last round of legal land stealing by the landed gentry under the enclosures acts, there were hardly any hedges at all, over 80% of my valley was just open grazing with just a few enclosed areas around every holding
 

Skinfaxi 

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Bayer started with crop spraying in the late 1800. The grape farmers wanted to keep peaple from eating the grapes. The farmers started to spray chalk to keep the peaple away. They then noticed reduced certain pests. Since then it has expended. In the uk we spray nerve agents to kill resistant red spider mites, but bomb other countries that supposedly use it in wars. We get slaves from other places and let them get pesticide poisoning and pick our food for cheap. Then market it as british grown. Animals need some place to live. Lawn is the 3rd largest most useless crop in the world. The sheeple think edible native herbs are weeds. And a pill is medicine. And so called science corrupted with polytics and funds .As real as supermarket honey.
Most agri businesses create waste lands. But peaple want cheap food grown by slaves.And then they donate to some charity to make them selves feel good.
 

HughMann 

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So wanting to ban all insecticides with no viable alternatives offered is no solution.
.......................for humans
For over 925,000 identified species of insects, it is probably a great option
 

PeaBee 

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Both are pretty important sublethal effects. Just like the big impact of cats (and dogs) which no-one talks about- not predation but the sublethal effect of reducing feeding, reproduction and other behaviours just by being there...
Many years ago I did research andwrote my dissertation in the effects of human disturbance on wading birds. When you calculate the energy burden placed on birds by disturbance from people (dog walkers the main culprit) it is massive. For birds with limited feeding resources (tide and space) and often recovering from migration it is no doubt a major factor in winter mortality. Often think about my research when I see people (mainly in red anoraks) strolling on a winter beach with fido and a flock of waders taking to the wing.
 

Wilco 

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Many years ago I did research andwrote my dissertation in the effects of human disturbance on wading birds. When you calculate the energy burden placed on birds by disturbance from people (dog walkers the main culprit) it is massive. For birds with limited feeding resources (tide and space) and often recovering from migration it is no doubt a major factor in winter mortality. Often think about my research when I see people (mainly in red anoraks) strolling on a winter beach with fido and a flock of waders taking to the wing.
Would be interested to read that. Do you have a copy/reference? It's such a massively underconsidered area.
 

Wilco 

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And yet up until the 1850's and the last round of legal land stealing by the landed gentry under the enclosures acts, there were hardly any hedges at all, over 80% of my valley was just open grazing with just a few enclosed areas around every holding
Yes, it's sad how poorly informed a lot of discussions about conservation/habitats/biodiversity are.
 

PeaBee 

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Would be interested to read that. Do you have a copy/reference? It's such a massively underconsidered area.
It was only a BSc dissertation so not published anywhere. I think I do have a copy on on a 31/2 inch floppy disc somewhere! I remember reading a lot of stuff by a chap called Goss-custard (memorable name) who quantified disturbance and the impacts well.
I saw a bit on TV the other week with some "conservation" body welcoming back crowds to an island to visit breeding see bird colonies and how they are clearing paths for the "staycation" tourists to get good views. Sure the sea birds really welcome that!
 

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