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No more honey


NormanH

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I was shocked this morning when I went to the weekly Farmer's market to find that the chap I usually buy honey from wasn't there, and I was told by his son that most of his bees have died, and the little honey that he has left is just enough for his family..

I was aware that there is a serious situation with a rapid decline in the bee population, but this was something concrete that shows just how serious things are.

Of course for the moment I can still buy honey elsewhere, but what is very alarming is the idea that there are so few bees in a very rural part of La Montagne Noire, and the consequences for the future.

Who or what will pollinate the plants if there are no bees, and if there is no pollination what is there to eat..

I haven't quoted the well-known  prediction  supposedly made by Einstein, because it may be spurious:

http://www.snopes.com/quotes/einstein/bees.asp

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That is so sad - and perhaps very scary. I am not surprised: for years now, a scientific journalist, Vincent Tardieu, has been studying the disappearance of bees and has given many talks on this for quite a while 

http://lesilencedesabeilles.over-blog.com/ 

I know he is not the only one (thankfully!) but his work is particularly interesting to me because he just lives up the road - and is therefore fairly local to you as well,  Norman.

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Some of you have seen me post on here in the past about bees. They're usually pretty active by now.

This year, not a sign of them. There are a dozen or more hives no more than 400m from us and that's what normally leads to a 'new' queen setting up a nest around and about.

My guess is that most died during the hard Winter that we had.

I hope that I'm right when I say that we shouldn't be too Armageddon-ish about it. The apiculteur told me a couple of years back that these things go in cycles: one year feast, the next famine.    

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That's alarming news, Norman.

Until I read that, I had actually been feeling quite optimistic about bees this afternoon.   While digging my small patch of London garden,  I saw several bees visiting my dandelions and forget-me-nots.

But I think they might be doing better in cities these days than in the pesticide-covered countryside.  The Tate Gallery has hives on the roof; you can buy the honey in the gift shop.

Angela

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I saw something on tv about bees in London and they said that are not doing badly at all. Varied plants to have a go at and less insecticides and the bees are healthy. Good news if only for London and maybe other big cities.

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[quote user="idun"]

I saw something on tv about bees in London and they said that are not doing badly at all. Varied plants to have a go at and less insecticides and the bees are healthy. Good news if only for London and maybe other big cities.

[/quote]

Seems to be the same in Paris.

http://www.paris.fr/loisirs/paris-au-vert/nature-et-biodiversite/les-abeilles-parisiennes/rub_9233_stand_68263_port_22522

 

They don't seem to be mentioned in the above article, but for some time there have been hives on the Opéra roofs.

http://www.ina.fr/video/3013805001025/les-abeilles-de-l-opera-de-paris.fr.html

http://www.dailymotion.com/video/x6n4c2_les-abeilles-de-l-opera-de-paris_webcam

 

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I saw a piece on a TV programme which suggested that the culprit was the pesticide with which rape seed is treated before it is sown. Apparently in theory it should all have gone by the time the flowers appear when in fact is hasn't.

I wish I could remember the name of the programme now.

Hoddy
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I went to a very interesting demonstration of bee keeping last year and one of the questons that came up was the decline of bee populations.  It was said that current thinking amongst bee keepers is that bees are suffering from the bee mite, over use of pesticides and too much monocultre like rapeseed which provides only low quality pollen for the bees.  Any one of these and the bees could cope, all three together and they're in deep trouble.
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PZFP ............

I'm sure that what you say is right as the general situation.

Just to repeat though, around here neither of the latter two apply but I've no idea about the bee mite. I'm sure that it was just the hard Winter.

I'm going to ring the apiculteur to ask him how things are & get something from the horse's mouth. Problem is that he's delightful but almost totally unintelligible (with his strong local accent!!) 

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I spoke to my 'horse's mouth'  yesterday (I bumped into him as we were attending the  same conference on Transitions towns at the IUT ) and he confirmed that almost all his bees have been wiped out, but added that as he is getting on he just didn't have the energy to start again, so I suppose that is slightly less bleak, providing someone young had the energy to try.

This is in a very rural area

Some nice photos and and interesting text in this blog:

http://jonathanspain.wordpress.com/2011/10/30/walking-in-the-hills-of-the-languedoc/

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Very interesting.    A chap keeps some bees in a corner of our land,   and for the first couple of years (c 2008 - 2009) he was delighted with the results.

However,   winter of 2010/2011 (which wasn't particularly hard) all but two of the ten hives were wiped out.    He's not sure why - AFAIK bees fly no more than a max of 3 kms and there's nothing round here within that distance where chemicals would be used.   He also wonders about the hornets,   but has an ingenious trap for them which seems quite effective.

This year we had a swarm on the 1st of May (provenance unknown) which he came over and caught,   and three of the hives are going OK.    Certainly our lot don't like cold/wet weather,   and there's been a lot of that this spring.

We shall see,   but like others here I view bees as a bell-wether,   and things don't look too good.

Apparently the entire apple crop (well 90%) of it in a big apple growing patch about 6 miles NE of us has been destroyed by that bad frost in mid April.   Up there they do spray extensively but it's too far away to affect our bees.

Years ago I was at a restaurant in England and was intrigued by one of the Sunday lunch main courses:

Roast leg of Bee.

I wish I'd ordered it......

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