Greetings everyone,

We would like to kick of this post today by apologizing on the lack of new articles put on our blog since the poor excuse that was shark week, but let us assure you that it will be back to the usual from this point on!! We would like to thank all the people that have continued to keep looking at our blog we are truly appreciative. Lets talk about bees...

Bees are declining at an unprecedented rate and they are declining faster in Britain than in the rest of Europe, which is surprising because if the last 800 years is anything to go on we were known as the Isle of Honey! We are not the only one in this boat America has lost some 4 million honeybee colonies in 2008; France lost 500,000 in 1997 with Brazil, Canada, Europe, India, Argentina and China reporting a declining number. 
More than 250 species of bee are threatened with extinction and sadly 3 of them have already gone extinct. Now for some buzzing facts, Britain is home to 25 different species of bumblebee, which are further subdivided into 2 different families: 
Bombus: Characterized by living in small colonies. 

Psithyrus or Cuckoobees: these bees lay eggs in the nests of other bees for them to raise! Cheeky. 

Of all the bees in Britain there are only 3 different types:

Honey bees:

Solitary bees: never heard of this type of bee before well neither had we it turns out that they make up most of the worlds bees and they live alone in holes or in burrows. They store the honey made and the sweet little things have no sting! And Britain proudly has more than 200 species of this bee.
"Bees are the canary in the coal mine- so intrinsically interconnected with our ecosystem that their disappearance is a warning signal. Protect them and we protect our future." UN Environment Programme.

Losing the worlds most precious pollinators would be a devastating loss to our environment, without them we would have no honey, no chocolate (I mean ladies come on!), no silk, almost no fruit, less cotton, less meat, less dairy, fewer species, fewer vegetables and fewer wild flowers. Try and picture the world if we had no bees, we tried and all we could picture was an arable desert imagine going to Kew gardens to see the flowers only to get there and see empty plots! Umm money back please!!

But why? Why are our bees disappearing and what can we do??

It’s funny how governments make it seem so intricate and such a huge mystery as to why our bees are declining at such a fast rate, well let us just say it actually isn’t. Pesticides. Habitat Loss. Less Food. Changes in land use. Bee keeping methods.  Ta-dah that’s it.


The thing about pesticides is that they are not specific to one insect and we often forget this fact. When they are laid down they will kill or damage all living organisms that eat it… including us. Ever wondered how these work, well they are nasty things they literally attack the nervous system of the insect and they do the very same things to us if we digest them. Exposure for humans has been linked to the following, Parkinsons disease, infertility and a whole cocktail of other diseases. That’s why more of us should buy organic products, they are GMO (genetically modified crops) banned and pesticides are avoided at all costs. Organic farms focus on natural eco-systems and native species ensuring that there are wild species on the margins of fields and hedgerows thereby protecting the diversity of the surrounding environment.  

But can Britain go completely pestcide free, I mean has anyone else done it?

YES. Due to the mounting evidence against pestcides and their effects on human health Paris and Tokyo are now pesticide free and now there urban native bee population is thriving. In fact the populations of urban bees are doing better than their rural counterparts (but we will talk about why later). 

The British government policy is not able to ban something like pesticides without conclusive evidence and even when there is very convincing evidence they don’t make any promises. Surely the evidence must be valid and very conclusive for two different cities to go completely pesticide free?? Funnily enough the British government are working of the results from experiments conducted by the pesticide manufacturers themselves… yeah because those results cant be biased right... 

Thought to be at the very heart of why the worlds bees are disappearing… apart from Paris and Tokyo of course.
Cast your mind back to the DDT dilemma. It was banned due to its adverse effect on our health it caused liver damage, liver cancer, nervous system damage, birth defects and other reproductive harm. So yeah not that great. Well get a load of this…
Neonicotinoids are 7,000 times more toxic than DDT, which was banned in Britain in 1984. 
These harmful pesticides penetrate the plant and attack the nervous system of the insects that sadly feed on them. France banned neonics in 2000 after several extensive studies showed that even a small dose causes disorientation and impaired foraging ability. Italy, Germany and Slovenia followed suit banning the sales of two neonics manufactured by Bayer. 
A leaked memo sourced from the US Environment Protection Agency had warned that bees and other pollinators including our native butterflies are all at risk from the neonics ending up in the pollen and nectar of flowers, this then washes into streams the rivers and the ponds which then destroy our aquatic life and stays in the soil for many years. So environmental disaster.
Loss of habitat:
Since the Second World War Britain has lost 3 million hectares of wild flowers now only 100,000 hectares remain and these diminish each minute. The loss of habitat and food is mainly down to the expansion of agricultural farms and the fashion in gardens for ornamental flowers and perfect lawns. The intimate story of the bees and our habitat is a classical symbiotic relationship, in that with no bees you have no floral habitat, and with no floral habitat you have no bees. The Change of land use to a mono crop field equals bad foraging, by providing little and sometimes no food. 
But YOU can help, it has been shown that bumblebees, honeybees and solitary bees all benefit from our own back yards a lot more than the countryside. It could be as small as a window box, or as big as your whole garden, if you could even spare a small portion of your garden you could happily now that you are offering bees a sanctuary and thereby ensuring yours and your families future. It is really as small and as simple as that. 

It does not have to be as large as the garden above which is located at Dunster Castle but it is lovely to see a garden coming alive with buzzing bees literally. My family and I visited and loved it!

After a massive decline in honeybee numbers after a CCD outbreak bumblebees and other pollinators picked up the slack and practically did 100% of the work. (taken by my dad and I)
In fact take a look at this picture for ideas on some bee friendly plants! having trouble seeing it please visit friends of the earth who include this in there bee saving kit.

All that our wild bees require from us is...
1. A place where there are flowers blooming all year round.
2. Those of you with gardens a bit of bare ground for those lovely solitary bees mentioned earlier to call home.
3. And of course protection from chemical attacks. (pesticides, herbicides fungicides any un-natural chemical really) those of you growing veggies or fruit these flowers will attract wasps which are known aphid killers, also known as biological control! 


Just when you think that beekeepers care about bees they just go and betray our trust. Well it turns out that even some bee keepers become profit driven and as such the bees welfare loses out. An increase in honey production and increased use and access to pesticides and other toxic chemicals has lead to stressed bees which then increases the colonies susceptibility to diseases such as CCD ( colony collapse disorder).

Many beekeepers follow what is called ‘commercial’ practices which in turn lead to widespread acceptance of beekeeping methods which are no where near to being considered as bee friendly. In response to this mistreatment and increasing awareness from the public the Natural Beekeeping Alliance is now heading a movement encouraging a more holistic approach- in other words more consideration towards the bee and less profit driven. 

For happy bees natural beekeeping is definitely the best way. Really this method relies on the foundation of minimum interference- avoiding the opening of the beehives too often, NOT clipping the queens wings to prevent swarming, avoiding the use of synthetic chemicals and medications and finally adapting a ‘supervisory’ rather than a ‘managerial’ attitude. Main take home message is that natural beekeepers take care of the bees and take all other natural pollinators into account, yep that includes your butterflies, moths, wasps and other creepy crawlies. Guess what to all of our lovely readers YOU CAN BECOME A NATURAL BEEKEEPER! For more details visit Barefoot Beekeeper

Bees need our help, they need your help, they need the worlds help and we can do it. We aren’t sure at what point our British government is actually going to realise this rather urgent matter! Maybe they eat food that isn’t pollinated by bees at all which is strange because both bees and wild pollinators pollinate 84% of EU crops. Or maybe they are not bothered at losing our pollinators which would cost our economy £1.8 billion a year and of course trigger an environmental apocalypse and see a massive decline in our animals and birds.

“Not a single bee has ever sent you an invoice. And that is part of the problem-because most of what comes to us from nature is free… we tend to ignore it” Pavan Sukhdev, author of the UN report the economics of ecosystems and biodiversity. 

Scary to think that honeybees are thought to go extinct in Britain in 2018. We have told you that you can help by planting bee friendly plants in your garden, try and buy organic food, don’t use chemical methods in your gardens try biological controls (remember the wasp!). And most importantly sign the petition to ban neonicotinoids visit this website to see more details! There are so many companies fighting for the bees and we have helped you get started with a few links below! Good luck!!


Over and out.

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