The UK will back a total ban on insect-harming pesticides in fields across Europe, the environment secretary, Michael Gove, has revealed.
The decision reverses the government’s previous position and is justified by recent new evidence showing neonicotinoids have contaminated the whole landscape and cause damage to colonies of bees.
It also follows the revelation that 75% of all flying insects have disappeared in Germany and probably much further afield, a discovery Gove said had shocked him.
An interesting article published in the Science journal in October reveals that three-quarters of the honey sampled in this study from around the world showed traces of neonicotinoid chemicals. In one-third of the honey, the amount of neonicotinoids found was enough to be harmful to bees.
Devon beekeeper, Liz Westcott, has been invited along to Phonic FM, a locally-based community radio station, to talk about her bees and how people can get started if they are interested in taking up beekeeping themselves.
If you would like to listen live, tune into Phonic FM on Wednesday 6 September between 11 am and 12 noon.
Do you know anyone interested in becoming a beekeeper?
The yellow-legged or Asian hornet (Vespa velutina) is native to South-East Asia, and is a voracious predator of pollinating insects including honey bees. Since its accidental introduction into South-Western France in 2004, V. velutina has spread to much of western Europe. The presence of V. velutina in Great Britain was first confirmed in September 2016. The likely dynamics following an initial incursion are uncertain, especially the risk of continued spread, and the likely success of control measures.
In some regions of the UK, colonies are starting to show symptoms of high levels of Varroa mites, for example wing deformities and perforated cappings. Therefore, it might be prudent to start monitoring colony mite populations and information on how to do this can be found in the Managing Varroa leaflet (page 15) issued by the National Bee Unit (BeeBase).