Losing bees would hurt UK economy - Macleans.ca

Losing bees would hurt UK economy

Could cost 13 per cent of country’s farming income


In a bid to save declining bee populations, the Insect Pollinators Initiative will look at what could be causing the decline, and represents a £10m investment in nine different projects, the BBC reports. In fact, if bees and all pollinators disappeared completely, the UK economy could lose up to £440 million per year, or about 13 per cent of its income from farming. The initiative is a collaboration between UK scientists from universities and government agencies, funded by public and charity organizations. Some will look at what affects the health of pollinators like wasps, bees, and moths, which help feed people by pollinating crops, while others will look at specific species and diseases. Since the 1970s, there’s been a 75 per cent decline in butterfly species in the UK, and three of 25 bumblebee species have gone extinct.

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Losing bees would hurt UK economy

  1. Can you over-work a honey bee? It's typical of the BBC, and government science, to accuse farming practices the main culprit. Only a brief mention of the life of the modern bee, who is shipped hundreds of miles so they can pollinate different crops, from orchards to OSR to heather and other natural feeds. The modern bee has to work far harder than his forebears whose hives stayed in one place and they foraged over familiar country. American bees have a similar life to those in Britain, I'm reliably informed If you know more, please contact me mike@farmideas.co.uk

  2. Honey bees, at least the worker (female) bees are overworked during the nectar season. The worker lives about 6 weeks during the summer and 6 months in the off season. They actually work themselves to death. But that's just the normal life of a honey bee. Moving them has nothing to do with it since my beehives don't move.

    The problem with the disappearing bees is attributed to Colony Collapse Disorder which is still not fully understood. The bees go out to collect nectar and never come back. Eventually the colony can be reduced to a handful of bees and a queen.

    It is theorized, but as yet unproven, that a particular systemic fungicide used on certain agricultural crops ends up in the nectar and affects the bee's nervous system causing confusion and an inability to find it's way back to the hive. That having been said, we are still looking for the cause. It is necessary to find the actual cause, not a politically correct cause as bees do not play politics and will continue dying until the real cause is found.

    So far I've been fortunate to not have lost any bees but I am keeping my fingers crossed.

  3. The above commenter is correct about them working themselves to death. That's nomral for honeybees, as it is for all social insects. They die to keep the colony alive. You can actually see the exhaustion if you watch the hive. My grandmother used to raise bees for honey when I was a kid. Often, the bees would arrive back at the hive loaded with pollen (you could see it collected on their legs) and nectar (not visible as they carry that their stomachs). The bees were so heavy with their load that they couldn't even manage a controlled landing, and would plop down at the hive entrance with an audible thud. They would then just sit their for minutes before finally crawling inside the hive. You could see their exhaustion.