We sat out in the garden until late yesterday evening, on the first warm evening we've had for ages - it was heartening to see various bumble bees, hover flies and lots of little flies and moths flitting about our garden.
Other people are talking about having poorly pollinated crops and runner beans failing to set - we appear to have loads of little runner beans forming on our plants - we must be doing something right
There are places where bees are managing to get by, despite the concerted assault on them by the agri-pesticide industry.
Much of our farmland is now a toxic wasteland, where invertebrates and those that live on them are struggling to suvive. I went for a five-mile walk on the eastern edge of Dartmoor yesterday and saw only one - yes one - solitary insectivorous bird in three hours. I saw no more than half a dozen butterflies, five bumblebees and no honeybees at all, despite there being at least 16 species of plants in flower.
My town bees are doing well, as I live in a place full of gardens and where most people are very aware of the dangers of using garden pesticides (except see above). I fear that large parts of England are becoming no-go areas for our most important pollinators and they will go into terminal decline unless people get the message soon.
beesontoast wrote (see)
... My town bees are doing well, as I live in a place full of gardens ...
There are a million acres of private gardens in Britain. That's 5 times more land than all the nature reserves managed by the various county wildlife trusts. This is a massive, and generally wasted, resource. Insects, and other animals, are making use of the habitats in gardens where they can. Butterflies normally found in woodland can now be found in Greater London.
Urban gardens also offer additional advantages for butterflies, as the urban environment is generally warmer than the countryside.
Every gardener can do something about this, if they want to.
Incidentally, a BBC documentary about the collapse of honey bee colonies is being repeated on BBC4 tonight, Monday, 9pm. It's been screened several times before. This program:http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b00jzjysThere's a link on that page to another website, which says this:"London – though conventional wisdom would seem to contradict this – may be less polluted than the English countryside, at least in ways that affect honeybees. With its many gardens and parks, the city offers a large amount and diverse variety of flowers for bees to pollinate."
The main reason they do better in the cities is the relatively light use of pesticides by gardeners compared to farmers and the greater density of useful forage.
A huge amount of our countryside is covered by wind-pollinated crops that have no food value whatsoever for bees - wheat, barley, rye grass, maize - while those that are potentially useful are often planted using seed that is pre-treated with systemic neonicotnoids (espe. Clothianidin) that render the entire plant toxic to all invertebrates, whether in the soil or on the plant itself. These same chemicals also leach into surface water and kill fish.
I was horrified to learn that BBC presenters are put under pressure to promote pesticides.
I think it's time we wrote some letters in defense of Monty Don and to applaud him for his stance against these dangerous products which should be banned from use in fields as well as gardens. .
Honeybadger - I agree. Some of the radio and TV gardening presenters are far too ready to pull out the bug-killers instead of looking for biological controls. Makes you wonder if some of them have been 'got at' by vested interests.
Given that Bayer hand out 'freebies' to local horticutural societies, it wouldn't be surprising if certain prominent presenters had been recruited.
I suppose the Beeb will say they have to be even-handed in what they say but I agree that a person's principles ought not to be compromised. Let them wheel in someone else to talk about poisons not try to make Monty do it.
Gone are the days when Percy Thrower was sacked by the BBC for advertising weedkiller.
Honeybadger - I agree. Some of the radio and TV gardening presenters are far too ready to pull out the bug-killers instead of looking for biological controls. Makes you wonder if some of them have been 'got at' by vested interests. Given that Bayer hand out 'freebies' to local horticutural societies, it wouldn't be surprising if certain prominent presenters had been recruited.
I think without any evidence of this you are entering a tricky area