Would you like the good news or the bad news first?
Ok, let’s start on a positive note. Something you may have missed in the news, and I certainly didn’t hear any reports on the fact that there is now a total ban on neonicotinoid pesticides in the UK. This is something beekeepers have long campaigned for and they are delighted at this announcement. The ban, of course, should help, not just honey bees, but insects and the planet in general.
Now the gloomy news, the honey crop throughout the UK is down from last year. I’m not very good with figures but I can grasp the significance of the following facts: 50 years ago a hive might be expected to fill 180 jars of honey. This year, the same hive produced 86 jars. Of course, we have to be careful with statistics but the general trend is for less honey to be produced year on year. When beekeepers were questioned about this, 62% said that pesticides were to blame and that climate change and less forage due to agricultural development were also a worry.
Enough pessimism! As always, there is lots we as gardeners can do to help the situation. Plant a lime tree, if you can. Hazel, willow, pear and cherry are also good for honeybees. Local people will be familiar with the wonderful lime tree walk in Tayfield Estate. It is delightful to hear, and see, so many bees there when their flowers are out.
If you are stuck for a Christmas present, a membership to Adopt A Beehive makes an excellent gift and if you want to read the full articles from the latest newsletter, as always, I’ll leave them at the Tayport Community Garden. Wishing all bees a cosy winter in their hives!