I fully support Monty's main thread on the destructive or even catastrophic effects of neonicotinoids on honeybees.  However, I am dissappointed that the article contains so many errors and misleading information.  He quotes the "National Beekeepers Association" which does not exist.  He may mean the British Beekeepers Association (which consists of amateur beekeepers in England) or the National Bee Unit (part of the Food and Environment Agency).  He relates that last year he caught a swarm and put it in a hive, but that every single bee died - a sad tale, but his colony may have died from many possible problems - starvation, disease, etc.  I advise anyone interested in beekeeping to join their local Beekeeping Association, and to undertake basic training on bee husbandry, including feeding, diseases and treatments, etc, before managing a colony. They will also support and advise you once you take on a colony.


  • Outdoor girlOutdoor girl Posts: 286

    The BBKA use methods which include using chemicals in  hives and disabling queen bees by cutting wings. The Natural Beekeeping Trust uses bee friendly methods which avoid these techniques. Their courses  are comprehensive and focus on natural methods.  However, there is some merit in joing a local BKA, if only to see how to treat bees badly.

  • ObelixxObelixx Posts: 10,147

    I looked into setting up a hive a few years ago but just to buy al the equipment was going to cost a small fortune so, instead, I garden without chemicals, I've made an insect hotel and I grow plants for pollen and nectar and get lots of bees andother insects in the garden.  Last year I spotted 4 different types of bee, including a wild honey bee, on one sedum spectabile flower head.


    The Vendée, France
  • Outdoor girlOutdoor girl Posts: 286

    Thanks obelixx. I want to add that the best way to help bees is to grow as many bee friendly plants as you can and not use chemicals at all.   In London, the numbers of beekeepers have doubled and the forage has halved. This means that beekeepers are using sugar to sustain colonies (and don't get me started on sugar from sugar beet and chemicals...). To help all bees we need to grow bee friendly forage.  Which I think is where the OP is coming from.

  • little-annlittle-ann Posts: 879

    we don't keep bees but have listened to the discussions with interest ,

    We live in the hills in cumbria and there are many hives dotted about in the area and the bees will have never come into contact with neonicotinoids and my husband wants to know if any research has been done in this and other areas of the country where because of the terrain there is no arable farming

  • ObelixxObelixx Posts: 10,147

    There may be no arable farming but many gardeners still use chemicals which contain nicotinoids and other nasties.

    Studies at Newcastle university have shown that bees exposed to caffeine which is present in some citrus plants as well as the obvious coffee trees have a better memory for remembering their way to flowers.   There's a bit about it in the latest RHS magazine.

    The Vendée, France
  • Outdoor girlOutdoor girl Posts: 286

    The beekeepers may also be conventional beeks who treat their hives with chemicals to control varroa and other problems.  Sadly, there is not enough coherent research of any volume into the success of natural beekeeping methods without chemicals.

  • I was supporting the thrust of Monty's article on neonicotinoids, but dissappointed at his lack of research and accuracy for the article. This is offputting for supporters of his views, and gives opponants of his views reasons to ignore his arguments.

    I am very interested in Natural Beekeepers Trust and will find out more, thanks. By the way, I am a member of a local BKA, but do not clip queens' wings, nor use insecticides.  Perhaps local BKAs vary in approach.  


  • little-annlittle-ann Posts: 879

    how far do bees travel from the hive, the gardens in the lakeland fells are few and far between. if a hive is in the middle of a patch of heather how far will they go??

    i try to be bee and butterfly and insect friendly in my garden and allow nettles and wild flowers to grow in places, i don't disagree with anything that's been said Obelixx i just wondered if any studies had been done in areas were chemicals will not have been used on the vegetation 

  • Honeybees can forage up to about 3 miles from their hive. 

  • little-annlittle-ann Posts: 879

    thank you beekeeper

  • ObelixxObelixx Posts: 10,147

    Little Ann - I doubt it.  No commercial iterest fo rth epeople who produce the offending chemicals and too little interest - so far - for local and national governments to fund such research.   Maybe something for a school or university project...........

    The Vendée, France
  • Alan4711Alan4711 Posts: 1,569
    Hi all iv just come back from the allotment and noticed 3 different types of bee on the yellow flowers of the nobbys ( Brussels sprouts to most people) that a fellow allotmenteer has left for them, and they were really busy and obviously have a grand time of it ,so this has to be another one to remember for the future for our garden,also i noticed the tadpoles were doing a piranha on a garden snail that must have fallen into the pond, i always thought they only ate plant life but not these matey they were hungry alright,OK good luck to the Bees and you lot get your sun-cream out just in case,( i would insert a smiley face with sun glass,s and winking) but i don't know how to get them biyall

  • I am agree with Outdoor Girl that some beekeeping associations apply non-sense methods to keep queen bee even they give bees the sugar and cut their wings to keep them in hives but some beekeeping associations i-e i joined beekeeping course in Quebec in canada and found the association very honest with bees.

  • hi obilixx,

    Hives don't have to cost a about making your own? here's a good link for you that contains plans for a Top Bar Hive.

    A course on beekeeping is a good investment(and helps you decide whether you can handle being surrounded by a cloud of buzzing bees!!!)

    loads of info and instructive videos on this great site.

    Seem to be more bumbles than honeybees round my allotment this year.

  • Try the Natural Beekeeping Website for details of courses in your area, Also Gareth John has a course running in early September. See the Simple Bees website.

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