Friday, November 7

Are we in danger of losing the gardening buzz?

Bees in trouble?
There has been much in the news recently about fears that the bee population is in serious decline. Bee keepers comment that hives often resemble the Marie Celeste. Lord Rooker a minister from DEFRA has been reported as saying that the honey bee may become extinct within the next ten years.

Why the decline?
One problem for the bees has been the miserable wet weather over the last two summers which prevents them from foraging successfully. Bees are also suffering from a loss of their food supply. They feed from flowers which are rich in nectar.

Although we still have flowers in our gardens – many of these will not provide the nectar that a bee requires. The double flowered varieties loved by some gardeners are not useful to the bees as they have difficulty accessing any nectar that may be present. Some choice ornamental plants have little pollen. At Chelsea this year green was the ‘in’ colour – gardeners are increasingly growing plants for foliage rather than flowers. No flowers means no food for the bees! The loss of wild flowers in the countryside and use of pesticides and herbicides have had serious impact on the bee population. Bee disease and parasites are also suspected for the high losses. Being under stress bees more readily succumb to disease and the effects of parasite infestation. If all that wasn’t enough, the honey bee population is under threat from a foreign invader – the Asian hornet which preys on honey bee hives.

Click here to read more about the bees that share our gardens and plots.

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