↑ Return to Links

Bees under threat

 

We are particularly concerned to play our part in halting the decline of honey bee populations on Gower and in raising the number of Gower people keeping bees. 

Bees play a vital role in the food chain – it is estimated that one  third of human food supplies depend on pollination by bees. We can help to turn around the fortunes of bee colonies on Gower by embracing organic standards and sustainable farming in our apiaries and encourage others to do so as well.

Bees have been declining at an alarming rate in recent years. Last winter the weather was a mixed blessing for honey bees. Bees usually like cold and dry winters when they stay in a tight cluster in their hives. In the UK , according to a survey carried out by the British Bee Keepers association (BBKA), 13.6% of the UK’s honey bee hives were lost. This is a great improvement on the 33% (or one in three) of the UK’s 240,000 honey bee colonies which were lost in the winter and spring of 2008, but still well above the norm of between 7% and 10%.

The co-operative has been formed to help tackle this problem locally but we need your help.

TEN WAYS TO HELP RESTORE GOWER’S BEE POPULATION

  1. Learn about bees and become a beekeeper.
  2. Avoid using weed killers in your garden. If you do then spray early in the season.
  3. Allow bee friendly wild flowers and clover to grow in corners of your garden or
    paddock/fields nearby.
  4.  Avoid pesticides. They kill bees and other pollinators.
  5. Sow wild flower seeds in your garden
  6. Plant fruit trees and bushes and plants bees like eg Lavender
  7.  Adopt organic principles in your small holding or allotment.
  8. Adopt a beehive on Gower by having a colony in your garden.
  9. Tell the police as soon as you see a swarm. They will get a local beekeeper to come and collect. Click
    link for advice http://www.bbka.org.uk/help/do_you_have_a_swarm.php
  10. Enjoy the fruits of local beekeepers by buying their honey!

 WHY IS YOUR HELP NEEDED?

The reasons for the decline in bee numbers are not yet fully  understood. One major problem is the issue of intensive agricultural practices  in general. For example, monoculture (where the same crop is grown year after  year) and the use of a range of pesticides, including herbicides which kill off  plants which bees forage on, can have negative impacts on bee populations.

WHY DO WE SUPPORT ORGANIC FARMING?

Organic farming takes a different approach to modern farming practices. It is
based on a system which works with nature, rather than against it. Organic
farmers aim to produce good food from a balanced living soil. For example,
organic farmers use clover to harness the sun’s solar power to transform
nitrogen in the air into soil nutrients, and they place strong emphasis on
protecting the environment. Genetically modified crops are banned, and
pesticides are avoided.

Living in an Area Of Outstanding Natural Beauty it is important to support biodiversity,
in terms of a wide range of plants, insects and animals and this  is a key component of organic farming. Each plant or animal has a specific role in the life of the farm, and this is
especially true of the bee. Bees play a crucial role in pollination, so that we
can grow fruits and vegetables, one in every three mouthfuls of our food is
thanks to bee-pollination. Without the bees we would not be able to support the
wide range of crops and plants on the farm – the two go hand in hand.

To find out more:

Soil Association

http://www.soilassociation.org/

Plan Bee

http://www.co-operative.coop/corporate/ethicsinaction/takeaction/planbee/ways-to-get-involved/