An interesting day in London last week, at a meeting to discuss the decline in pollinating insects. There were some interesting and highly competent folk there and some interesting initiatives, although it seemed to be entirely bee related. Also, tellingly, I was the only person there from the commercial sector. Again. This lack of engagement between the commercial sector and NGOs and academics is hopeless.
Random take aways? Not too gloomy, as it turns out.
- Pollinator numbers don’t seem to be as declining as fast as they were in the 1970s and 1980s – thank goodness. Declines then seem to be linked to pesticide use and collapse in wild red clover populations due to changing farm practices.
- Weirdly, although we don’t know much about what is happening in the UK about pollinators, we know more than nearly everyone else about what’s happening in their own countries.
- Managed honeybee numbers globally seem to be increasing, but in the UK reflect weather, disease, and the availability of forage.
- Bumblebee survival seems to be directly related to quality of habitat.
- Local councils could easily do a lot more to encourage biodiversity, reduce park management costs, reduce CO2 emissions and engage local communities. Good things happening here.
- “Wild bees” seem to suffer from honeybee diseases related to varroa.
- Yes, pesticides are a hell of a problem. 40% of honey at the recent Apimondia show was rejected because of impurities. Yuk.