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Neonicotinoids: wonder-chemicals or armageddon?

 
JUN 13 @ 10:42

by minerva

www.telegraph.co.uk/gardening/9257431/t … -bees.html

I do hope people take the time to read this article. It is a subject that has recently been discussed in various publications & notably on BBC1's 'Countryfile'.
Since worldwide, bees are major pollinators of nearly all our food, it begs the question, 'If you & I don't take up the reins of responsibility to ensure bee survival, who will be to blame when our children cannot feed their own?'

My first photo is of my own hive at the bottom of my garden...........this year the 20acre field next to it is under an Oilseed Rape crop, the seeds & spraying of which I have no control over. Whatever debris is released is brought directly to my hive on the prevailing wind & within yards of the hive is a massive pollen source.

My second photo is of the honey that has been produced from this crop (it is a very pale & not a strong tasting honey), the late Summer honey we will collect at the end of July (ish) will be a very different colour & taste, made as a result of bees foraging the flowers in gardens/countryside.

One thing we have noticed as a result of the bees foraging 'Rape' is that from a unusually calm & docile colony, they become very much more aggressive & agitated for the weeks they forage the crop.............it remains to be seen what effect the regular reappearance of the crop has on the longer term health of my bees.

Please take the time to post a comment, I would be interested in anyone's views.

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JUN 13 @ 12:57

by MsPablo

I will peruse the article.  I'm waiting for a plane which should board shortly.  Why is the honey white Minnie?  Is it full of wax?  Also, how will the rape flowers impact the flavor of the honey?  I have heard it is a very foul-tasting type of plant and the oil must be deodorized, etc.  I never buy that type of oil for that reason.

 
JUN 13 @ 13:10

by minerva

There isn't a strong flavour to the honey, is all.............some plants make a very pungent honey.........Rape doesn't, which does make it a useful honey when you want sweetness with a subtle flavour, ie when using it with other subtle flavours. It also doesn't have the strong smell people often associate with honey..........which is also useful sometimes.

This honey wasn't harvested as early as it might have been due to the cold, damp weather........so started to set in the frames. The paleness is typical of Rape Honey, & although 'set', isn't firm in the jar just gloopy.

The other thing to mention is that this honey is 'raw', ie not pasteurised.
Heating the honey increases it's viable 'shelf-life', but also alters it, destroying some of it's curative powers. Give me honey in the raw any day!

Made a cake y/day with some of it................an Almond & Lemon Cake, with a Honey & Lemon Syrup allowed to soak into it. It's lovely.
If we have salad leaves later today, I might try it in a Honey/Mustard dressing (with a mild mustard) just to see if it's robust enough.

 
JUN 13 @ 14:06

by Grandmadamada

I follow
www.buzzaboutbees.net/
on twitter and always find very interesting articles and news of actions taken around the world to keep bees alive and healthy

my sovescio in my campo so full of a rich variety of flowers was crowded with bees and other pollinators, my beekeeper friend cuoco Roberto also says the hives near a field covered with sovescio become healthier and can fight against varroa better than weak hungry onessmile

 
JUN 13 @ 16:40

by minerva

That's true that happy, fatty little bees can fight better......

........so what do you think about the use of these new insecticides on agricultural crops?
The research so far seems to show that the bees themselves are smaller & weaker when they are affected by these treated crops, & it is no longer about crop-spraying, but also about the coating that is on the seed itself.
But from what I can see, the research itself is inconclusive?

 
JUN 13 @ 17:19

by minerva

..........which 'green manure' plant do you use?
I have used Red Clover, & Phacelia in the past, both are really pretty & did very well.
I also grow Borage as a matter of course in the herb garden, the bees love it & it's a green manure that can be dug in at the end of the season. Win, win all round.

 
JUN 13 @ 22:03

by Grandmadamada

it's a mix I sowed in spring it is called miscela multiflorale by ARCOIRIS DE08 -9306

trifolium alessandrinum, mellilotus officinalis,onobrychis vicifolia, medicgo lupulina, trifolium incarntum, medicago sativa, trifolium resupinatum, phacelia tancetifolia, trifolium hybridum, vicia sativa, fagopyrum esculentum, coriandum sativum, ornithopus sativus, calendula officinalis, carum carvi, raphanus sativus, daucus carota, foeniculum vulgare, pastinaca sativa, agrostemma githago, centaurea cyanus, malva sylvestris, endivie, anethum graveolens, borrago officinalis

and I'm sur you would recognize everyone, I have seen some pink peas' flowers, now I know how facelia looks like, I individuated a thin smooth plant among the others as fiordaliso (centaurea) because it was in my wedding bouquet, and borraggine because I have started using some leaves together with beets in my soups.

I have left 1 square meter approxx to go to seed and now I must carefully follow their ripening.

winkhelpthumbsupwave it's a wonderful job like a play

 
JUN 20 @ 13:43

by minerva

That sounds a lovely seed mixture.
I tend to plant blocks of single varieties only because those I do grow are a harvestable herb for other uses too, but a little mixed patch might be a nice thing to do next year?

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