AAArgh...We're All Gonna Die!!!
Bee numbers plummet as billions of colonies die across the world
Fears for crops as shock figures from America show scale of bee catastrophe
The world may be on the brink of biological disaster after news that a third of US bee colonies did not survive the winter
...as someone commented on Guardian Online:
Uhuh. Ok. Whatever.
There's got to be a sensible line to take through this somewhere between complacent and - well - the Daily Mail. Among the things I learnt last week at the great Bee Beano was that there have been regular instances of large scale losses of honey bee colonies over the past 100 years. Hmm. Interesting. Blimey, yes, let's make sure folk know about the problem and let's worry about it, but let's keep a sense of perspective.
It would also be nice if these bee extinction stories reminded us somewhere of what we can do to to help, apart from supporting relevant research. There are fewer flowers in the countryside. We can help to compensate for that by planting more of the right sort of plants in our own gardens. As consumers we can try to encourage environmentally friendly food production. Where we live - Somerset - of course disease and climate have taken their toll recently, but my informed guess is that the principle reason for the decline in honeybee numbers (which has been going on for several decades) has been commercial pressure. Many large scale cider makers use imported apple concentrate in order to keep prices low. Small scale producers have been forced out of business. Ergo local orchards grubbed up. Ergo no bees required to pollinate the apple trees.
This officially the last post on bees for a while. And I'm bound to get complaints.