Bee on a yellow firewheel [gaillardia pulchella] at Palace Gardens, Oldenburg. © Matt Lemon Photography. All Rights Reserved.
On a recent trip to Oldenburg to retrace the steps of the ancestors of my professor and friend Helena Meyer-Knapp, we strolled through the beautiful Palace Gardens, one of the major historical parks in Northern Germany. “Stretching over an area of around 16 hectares with great diversity of plant forms and colours, the gardens were created in 1814 by Duke Peter Friedrich Ludwig as an English landscape garden [and] have maintained their original appearance, almost unchanged over the 200 years of their existence, and still contain some of the original tree population.” The above photo was taken on a field of beautiful firewheels, and I would like to use it to highlight once again the global decline of bee populations, which governments still refuse to acknowledge, as recent events in the UK have shown.
“Believe it or not, you have a bee to thank for every one in three bites of food you eat.”
“Honey bees—wild and domestic—perform about 80 percent of all pollination worldwide. A single bee colony can pollinate 300 million flowers each day. Grains are primarily pollinated by the wind, but fruits, nuts and vegetables are pollinated by bees. Seventy out of the top 100 human food crops—which supply about 90 percent of the world’s nutrition—are pollinated by bees.”
The above quote is from an article by Greenpeace, titled “Save the Bees”, a recommended 5-minute read. Or if you rather want to watch a film to learn more about colony collapse disorder (CCD), please visit my previous Beeware! post. Finally, if you really want to dig deep, please take a look at the reading materials listed below.
Prupis briefly summarises findings of the two following studies:
Kessler, Tiedeken, Simcock, Derveau, Mitchell, Softley, Stout& Wright “Bees prefer foods containing neonicotinoid pesticides” Nature 521, 74–76 (07 May 2015) [Access US$32]
Raine, Gill “Ecology: Tasteless pesticides affect bees in the field” Nature 521, 38–40 (07 May 2015) [Access US$18]
Pesticide Action Network (PAN) “Over 4 Million People Press Obama to Protect Bees”  PAN is an international coalition of around 600 NGOs, citizens’ groups, and individuals in about 60 countries, involved in fighting problems caused by pesticide use and advocating ecologically sound alternatives. Branches include PAN North America, U. K., Germany, Mexico, Asia and Pacific, and Africa. You can follow them on Twitter or Facebook.
Rick Keigwin, Sheryl H. Kunickis “Input to the White House Task Force on Pollinator Health regarding the use of neonicotinoids” Rick Keigwin is the Director of the Pesticide Re-evaluation Division at the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA); Sheryl H. Kunickis, PhD, is the Director of the Office of Pest Management Policy at the US Department of Agriculture (USDA).
European Food Safety Authority “Conclusion on the peer review of the pesticide risk assessment for bees for the active substance imidacloprid considering all uses other than seed treatments and granules”
If you live in the UK, please sign 38 Degrees‘ petition to Keep the ban on bee-killing pesticides. 38 Degrees is an independent British not-for-profit political-activism organisation. You can follow them on Twitter or Facebook.