They're dying out. Fast. No one knows exactly why, but we organic gardeners know they don't like pesticides much. What are we going to do?
Well, I'm off to a film showing this evening with the treasurer of my Allotment Association. We're invited by the Co-op. They've become the first UK retailer to 'prohibit the use of a group of eight pesticides as part of a radical new ten point plan designed to help reverse the decline in the British honeybee population'.
The ban is a temporary one though. (I'm going to ask them why). Here's their ten point plan: - (all you co-op shoppers - look out for film showings in your area, and contact the co-op for more details):
- The Co-operative Food will temporarily prohibit the use of neonicotinoid-based pesticides on own-brand fresh produce. These are Acetamiprid, Clothianidin, Dinotefuran, Fipronil, Imidacloprid, Nitenpyram, Thiacloprid and Thiamethoxam.
- £150,000 will be made available to support research into the demise of the honeybee, with a particular focus on UK farming, pesticides and gene-diversity. The largest ever private contribution to bee research in the UK
- Over three years, the Co-operative Farms will trial a new wildflower seed mix that will be planted alongside crops on its farms across the UK. The Co-operative Farms is the UK's largest farmer with more than 25,000 hectares of land under management.
- Co-operative farms will invite beekeepers to establish hives on all Co-operative Farms in the UK
- The Co-operative will engage its three million members in a campaign to protect and nurture the bee population in the U.K. with advice and tips featured on its website.
- Members will be invited to forty screenings of a special preview from a forthcoming film that addresses the decline of the bee population and the significance of the bee in food production. In addition, The Co-operative has also commissioned a new bespoke documentary on the decline of the bee population in the UK.
- The Cooperative will partner with RSPB's Homes for Wildlife Team and empower members to garden in ways that are honeybee-friendly
- An initial 20,000 packets of wildflower seed mix will be made available to members free of charge.
- Bee boxes are being sourced and made available to Co-operative members at discounted prices.
- The Co-operative will support its members and colleagues to find out more about amateur beekeeping and will encourage links between local beekeepers and members.