It is a worrying thought that things have got so bad, ecologically speaking that we are being forced to consider an Action Plan for Bees. This is what Friends of The Earth are calling for in their Bee Cause Petition.
Bees pollinate over 75% of our plants, and due to intensive agricultural farming, some species of bumble bees are now extinct, and wild bees almost certainly facing this future too. In the last 25 years 50% of bees in managed hives have also disappeared.Frighteningly this is one of the primary key indicators to an ecological crisis and it is up to landscape architects to ensure we do whatever we can to specify wildflower rich grasslands, fruit and flowers to attract our bees.
It has been calculated that the loss of bees would cost the UK £1.8 billion per year as farmers have to hand pollinate fruit and vegetable crops thus forcing up food prices. In fact this is already happening in other countries, most notably to farmers in the Hanyuan County, China who have had to hand pollinate their pear trees due to the elimination of their local bee population.
Not only is it the decline of the bee habitat, but also the growth of bee pests such as the Varroa destructor parasite and the introduction of factory-farmed bees which will dilute the native species and hence make them more susceptible to disease.
Furthermore research shows that the nicotine based pesticide, Clothianidin, manufactured by Bayer, which is now widely used in the USA and is being more and more frequently adopted here in the UK, is closely linked with Colony Collapse Disorder, of not only bees but other pollinators too. Banned in it’s own country of origin, Germany, after links to unprecedented honeybees deaths, other countries have now followed suit including Italy, France and Slovenia.
Pressure is mounting in both the UK and USA as further reports are published. It falls upon us within the industries of agriculture, horticulture, landscape architecture, etc. to spread the word. We need to call for a ban on this product to help save our environment, our crops and our bees.