Lots of excitement with the children as they buzz around being bees and pollinate the apple trees. It’s a wonderful way to bring the vital role of bees into play that is real. “When the pollen brushes on the stigma, fertilization happens and a tiny apple starts to form. If there aren’t enough bees or other pollinators around, the apples don’t get properly pollinated and they are small or malformed. That is why we need to take care of the bees and make sure they have a good range of flowers which are food for their hive. We can all help them to be strong and healthy.” There was some enthusiastic pollination going on yesterday and much interest in how to be a Bee Hero. Even Batman and Wonderwoman joined in!
Plant a good range of flowers, particularly natives which are also good for the native bees, avoid using pesticides and keep a shallow bowl of water topped up during the warmer months for the wildlife. Please ask before you buy what pesticides have been used on the plants as even native plants may have been sprayed. Labelling of pesticide use is not required in Australia and a study by Professor Dave Goulson of Sussex University in UK, Pesticides found in Bee Friendly Plants found only 2 out of 29 plants labeled ‘Perfect for Pollinators’ had no pesticides. “Perhaps the concentrations we detected are all too low to do any actual harm? For neonicotinoids, the concentrations typically found in the nectar and pollen of treated crops, such as oilseed rape, are in the range 1-10 parts per billion (ppb). Exposure to such concentrations has been found to impair bee navigation, reduce egg laying and learning, and suppress the immune system. In a study with bumblebee nests we found that giving them pollen with 6ppb of neonicotinoid reduced nest growth and resulted in an 85% drop in the number of new queens produced. In the ornamental flowers, we found imidacloprid at up to a maximum concentration of 29ppb, clothianidin at 13ppb and thiamethoxam at 119ppb. In other words, concentrations far higher than those known to harm bees.”
It’s time for us all to Be Bee Friendly!