Tuesday, 17 February 2009

Colony Collapse Disorder

Work, family and weather have kept me away from my veg plots this week. I've used the time to reflect on last week's bee meeting and what's bothering bees across the globe. Amongst other things Colony Collapse Disorder. Read reports on this from the U.S. Department of Agriculture and watch a video about this here. (Apologies to blog readers about the links problem this week, it should be okay now).

Anyone who watches 'The Return of the Honey Bee' (the new documentary we saw at the Co-op meeting last week) will learn that at least one third of our food production depends on bees. Let me say that again. One third of our food production depends on bees. That basically means that if their lives are not protected, we stand a good chance of dying out too.

The day after I watched the documentary I made some big decisions. I realised I just didn't know enough about our furry-legged friends. (If I'm going call myself an organic gardener I need to wise up). So I chased up some of the contacts I'd made at the meeting and fished out my wildlife books.

At the Co-op meeting we had the privilege of hearing a representative of Cheshire Beekeepers speak. They have lots of practical advice for newbies (get it - new bees...) - er, I mean people who would like to start bee-keeping.

We've several budding bee keepers on our allotment site who are getting to grips with a hive launch, possibly this year. At the meeting we found other bee keepers from different sites in our city and so were able to exchange information about issues like insurance and allotment policy.
Unfortunately the co-op don't have any plans to show the documentary again to a wider audience, so it's up to us organic gardeners to keep discussion going at the 'grass roots'.

In the picture you can see a bee log. Makes a good gift. Read more about bee logs, which flowers are good to grow and colony collapse disorder in my Helium articles: Why bees are useful in the garden and The dangers of declining bee populations

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