Feeds

back to article Defra steps up probe into honeybee wipeout

The Department for Environment, Food And Rural Affairs (Defra) has announced it is giving "higher priority" to the investigation of bee fatalities following "early signs of significant colony losses across the country". Defra has mobilised inspectors from the National Bee Unit (NBU) to probe this year's losses, which it admits …

COMMENTS

This topic is closed for new posts.
Pirate

Scents-less

I read an interesting article a week or so ago where a US university described some findings that indicated that flower scent was no longer travelling as far due to pollution and, the constant culprit, global warming.

They were suggesting that CCD was caused by bees finding it harder to find enough flowers to gather pollen from.

0
0
Paris Hilton

It's a good job UK is not a raw food producer anymore...

as Defra's delirium is painful to watch. Bees in general, and honey bees in particular, are one of (if not THE) the major pollinating insects in the world. CCD has been around for well over 12 months and has been reported for at least 2 years to my certain knowledge. That Defra is giving it a "higher priority" means precisely SFA. There have always, and will continue to be, diseases with Bees but I'd respectfully suggest and request that something more than giving CCD a "higher priority" was appropriate.

A substantial increase in Vet Science funding and research in the order of, say, 5% of the tax owed by the Plutocratic "Non-Doms" might be a start?

Paris - 'cos she's a real honey!

I'll buzz off now, mine's the yellow & black striped one....

0
0
Gold badge
Thumb Down

@Ian Yates

Or put another way:

A US University has found a way to work politically eyecatching trend of the moment, Global Warming, into its bee research. Yay! Research Grant! Snouts down for a troughfull!

0
0
Thumb Up

No shortage of bees here

Down here in the town I live in (somewhere in West Sussex), there is not a shortage of bees. I've seen plenty of them already this year, I've had to chase a couple of them out of the house yesterday. Last year we were lucky enough to have a nest in our garden.

0
0

Strange concidence

The problems with Bees seem to be linked to GM crops. WOW that would be a story. Obviously something else, couldn't possible be GM. Or could it??

0
0

It's obvious...

As per current reporting trends, the bees have obviously turned lesbian...

0
0
Anonymous Coward

@Wellard

I spotted a wasp the other day.

0
0
Alien

No need for them to worry.

They keep going on about it Doctor Who, so I reckon it'll be sorted by the end of the series.

0
0
Joke

@ Wellard

Going by the same logic...

- My town is now crime free because I wasn't broken into last year

- The UK's power supply is green because I use 100% renewable sourced

- I've only had wasps this year, so the UK's bee population must be extinct. Possibly slaughtered in an epic battle with said wasps. Or - more plausibly - because the bees are now so f*ing huge they can't VTOL, so they need runways on their hives to take off properly, but the council denied their planning permission

- I wasn't flooded last year, so oceans must be falling not rising

- I didn't run out of petrol last week, so there is no petrol shortage

...and so on.

Wow. I gotta stay off the skittles man.

0
0
Bronze badge

@Wellard

>>Last year we were lucky enough to have a nest in our garden>>

Andus, amongst her other skills (Paris would NOT be interested, however) was a beekeeper many years ago in Hampshire (The original in UK, you US dullards ;-).

If you've a "nest" and it's underground, it'll be a Bumblebee nest. They're as much use as a chocolate kiuas for pollenation.

Or, a fuck*ing wasps nest. Pour petrol down the hole, and cap it fast with a sod (indie journalist??), if you can afford petrol in UK still.

If it's a swarm, however, and they've nowhere to go, ditto as far as agriculture goes.

-Andus.

(Yep, I'm really male, but the Indie paid me to say that. Honest.)

0
0
Coat

Call Eddie

I know where they are..

<Eddie Izzard>

I'm covered in Beeeezzzzz...

</Eddie>

Coat, nuff said

0
0
Anonymous Coward

@Wellard

Bublebees are pollinators

http://www.bumblebeeconservationtrust.co.uk/bumblebees_in_crisis.htm

0
0
Anonymous Coward

@Andus

Bumblebees not a good pollinator? That's weird, perhaps the insect you're referring to is different than an American bumblebee. The bumbles seemed to like my roses, Rose of Sharon, and apple trees. The seemed too coated in that pollen stuff to avoid spreading it around.

However, around here, bees in the ground are generally referred to as 'dirt bees' and are much smaller than bumbles.

0
0

Theory

Conspiracy Theory:

Virus released by GM food villains

Next up: cloned carrots, apples etc.

Soon all GM-ed into one universal vegetable-fruit grown in vats.

Cows, pigs etc. exist only in zoos as too expensive to feed for food.

Organ donations possibly take on new meaning - but only for the very rich GM food villains.

Probably shouldn't be joking about this.

Hmm... delicious little item just walked by.

0
0
Bronze badge
Paris Hilton

Dirt Bees...

'Cos there's nowhere near as many of 'em (in UK, at least). They pollenate, sure but not nearly so many as the native.

Paris has had a few "bees" and IFIRC, she's not been pollenated...

Nuff about bumblies.

Paris, Natch.

0
0
Pirate

Not another fungi..

Brilliant, first we have the deadly Chytrid fungus annihilating amphibians all over the world because we transferred a animal host to a climate where it can rapidly reproduce and now it's the turn of the humble UK Bumble Bee.

Is DEFRA doing anything about the import of these two fungus into the UK by limiting the animals that are bringing it in?

The answer is no... They'll wait until there is a serious problem in our countryside and people start shouting at them.

0
0

'Alf a bee

Seen two dead bumblebees so far this year. Slackers And @ Andus I believe bumblebees are a contributer to pollinatation, as I have seen their hairy arses covered in yellow dust. Not too good with the concept of glass, though.

0
0

Sarah Bee?

Can't believe I, or anyone else, hasn't yet asked how Sarah is feeling. Sorry 'bout that... thoughtless, thoughtless, thoughtless.

So? How is she doing? Managing to stay calm in the face of this advancing plague?

0
0
Happy

To bee or not to bee

I hate bees (Sarah excepted, obviously) - got attacked by a swarm once, so they get no sympathy from me.

Just goes to show you should be careful who you choose as your enemy. They might do you down on El Reg!!!!!

0
0
Dead Vulture

@AC, with a spotted wasp

Those are very rare you know, most have stripes.

0
0
Silver badge
Boffin

Oh, and just to stay on topic

It's a known fact that DEFRA *never* act on anything until they have an excuse to burn/cull vast quantities of the animal/vegetable in question.

So if you see fields of hives on fire, it's not spontaneous bee combustion, it's DEFRA pulling their finger out and taking 'proactive action against the problem'.

DEFRA = about as much use as a chocolate teapot.

Steven R

0
0
Silver badge

Insectiod Spots this year:

One bee looking a bit sorry for itself early Feb in the warm spot we had - I guess it didn't last long either. Fat bastard of a thing, maybe a queen?

Not seen many bees since, but a FUCKING HUGE wasp decided to spend a good five minutes checking out my fucking window yesterday as I was trying to tidy up my flat - proper big sod, a good two inches long.

Proper shook me up when it whacked into my face as I was cleaning the blinds. Laugh? I nearly shat!

As for Sarah Bee, surely the question we need to ask, is is she fluffy and fuzzy and strokeable like a bumblebee, or is she slim hipped and waspish like a...er...wasp?

These questions must be asked!

[unless the editor mods them out, of course]

Steven "has had too much sugary drinks and coffee today" Raith.

0
0
Alien

So long and thanks for all the pollen

The bees simply got the hint and are leaving in advance of the invasion/annihilation.

0
0
Paris Hilton

anyone seen a horse before I shut this stable door?

What genuine value for money this investment in DEFRA has been over the years. Why only half a century ago people were voicing their concern that systematic habitual abuse of the environment might have a detrimental effect on some of the more important species on the planet and here we are, a few brief decades later, discussing the potential eradication of the single most important plant pollinators on this side of the hermetic seal.

More examples? oooh letmesee... potato blight (the classic historical example of 'monoculture' or "why not to put all of ones eggs in the same basket"), overfishing (the classic historic example of gross profit over future sustainability or "don't trust quotas set by committee"), unregulated GM releases (the classic example of blind hope over realistic expectation or "don't trust the science reported by multinational corporations with a vested interest in the product") and now HoneyBees (the only logical endpoint for any overstressed species or "is anyone really surprised that meek have had enough").

...and the government worry that smoking the odd joint might equate to a 0.01% increase to the risk of an individual being driven insane?

Icon - with sincere thanks for not filling the world with yet more rubber products.

0
0
Coat

What will the veggies do now/

Oh dear! No fruit an veg. They'll have to eat meat now.

Mines the leather jacket

0
0
Anonymous Coward

Defa's Incompetence

Defra knew about this issue ages ago, sat back and did absolutely nothing. There was a group of people trying to convince Defra to act and spend a few million quid into researching the issue ( it affects the food chain!!) but Defra stayed completely silent. A few measely million, that's all.

Now, they've decided to act. 10 years and our Bee population will be wiped out, you can't sit around for many months doing nothing when you've got such a short timescale!

0
0
Anonymous Coward

E Petition website

Love the fact the Government's petition website is in still in beta test, since November 2006 ! Just how much time do they need to test a website?

Usual government incompetence. Lack of procedures and execution of them.

0
0
Anonymous Coward

Consultation Pah!

I don't understand why Defra think they need to conduct a consultation on the strategy for the future. The consultation will take 6 months, then they'll spend a month or two thinking about which option to go for, then they'll take a year or more implementing the strategy, with the result of an ever decreasing Bee population!!

What Defra need to do, is conduct an immediate investigation into the issue, find out what's going on and then remedy it! Isolation of the bees (somehow), put in place a breeding program, climate controlled environment for them to enable them to survive the winters.

When a doctor conducts an investigation into a disease you have, does he faff about with a 3 or 6 month consultation exercise before he starts to treat you? No, he diagnoses the problem and gets on with remedying it!

0
0
Anonymous Coward

I am a beekeeper...

...and at our association's apiary, we have lost 15 colonies out of 25 this year - there is definitely a problem and the sooner we find out what it is, the better.

Might I also point out that this article refers to the Western Honeybee (Apis Mellifera) as opposed to the Bumblebee (Bombus)?

There are several other species of bee in the UK, but these are solitary species who live and work alone.

Whilst bumblebees are much better pollinaters than honeybees as far as the individual goes, a typical honeybee colony numbers in the tens of thousands of individual bees, whereas a typical bumblebee colony has merely a few hundred individuals.

Additionally, whilst they look similar and are distantly related, wasps are NOT bees and do absolutely nothing for pollination.

0
0
This topic is closed for new posts.