bees

bees


ForestFriends.ie
Written by jonathan (07/08/13, 02:40:43)

Comments on this article:


mso-outline-level:1">Time to give bees a chance

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mso-fareast-font-family:"Times New Roman";mso-fareast-language:EN-IE"> 

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"Times New Roman";mso-fareast-language:EN-IE">John Rainsford

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13.5pt;background:white">

mso-fareast-font-family:"Times New Roman";mso-fareast-language:EN-IE">First

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published:

mso-fareast-font-family:"Times New Roman";mso-fareast-language:EN-IE">Thu, Jul

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4, 2013, 01:00  IRISH TIMES

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font-family:"Times New Roman","serif";mso-fareast-font-family:"Times New Roman";

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mso-fareast-language:EN-IE">Collective bargaining may no longer be de rigueur

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in our current economic climate but this has not prevented Irish bees from

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acquiring a representative organisation of their own.

"Times New Roman";mso-fareast-language:EN-IE">

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mso-fareast-font-family:"Times New Roman";mso-fareast-language:EN-IE">The

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recently established Native Irish

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Honey Bee Society (NIHBS) is an all-Ireland body dedicated to

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conserving remaining stocks of the endangered Irish ‘black bee’.

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mso-fareast-font-family:"Times New Roman";mso-fareast-language:EN-IE">Itself a

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sub-species of the dark European honey bee, the Irish honey bee is hirsute

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compared to its non-native fellows, enabling it to better survive our cooler,

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damper oceanic climate.

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mso-fareast-font-family:"Times New Roman";mso-fareast-language:EN-IE">Black bees

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are also frugal in their use of honey stores, allowing them to withstand longer

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periods of climate-induced ‘austerity’.

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Decimated

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mso-fareast-font-family:"Times New Roman";mso-fareast-language:EN-IE">Since the

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mid-1990s, however, native bee numbers, have been decimated by the arrival of

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the Varroa mite parasite to Ireland’s shores-mainly on the backs of cheaper

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imported bees.

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mso-fareast-font-family:"Times New Roman";mso-fareast-language:EN-IE">“The

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feral bee population has all but gone in many parts of Ireland,” laments Pat

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Deasy, the society’s Waterford-based Chairman. “Varroa is the cause of

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spreading many bee viruses and weakening the bee population; however, with help

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our native bees will in time learn to co-exist with it.

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mso-fareast-font-family:"Times New Roman";mso-fareast-language:EN-IE">“We want

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to educate both beekeepers and the general public, that there is still a very

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strong black bee presence in various locations throughout the island. This was

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proved by the national morphometry and DNA-testing programme organised recently

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by the Galtee bee breeding group.”

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mso-fareast-font-family:"Times New Roman";mso-fareast-language:EN-IE">The Irish

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Department of Agriculture estimates that the value of the bee as a pollinator

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of Irish farm crops is in excess of €85 million a year. Indeed, 60 per cent of

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food today relies on bees for its pollination with fruits like apples,

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raspberries and strawberries enjoying higher yields as a result.

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mso-fareast-font-family:"Times New Roman";mso-fareast-language:EN-IE">Recent

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scientific research also points to the fact that one in three mouthfuls of food

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globally has been pollinated by bees. Many of those things that we take for

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granted, such as cereal in the morning and home grown apples, would become

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unaffordable to many without the tireless work of bees.

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mso-fareast-font-family:"Times New Roman";mso-fareast-language:EN-IE">“The

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local beekeeper is the most important friend of the environment where both wild

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and agricultural flora depends on pollination to propagate,” explains Pat

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Deasy.

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mso-fareast-font-family:"Times New Roman";mso-fareast-language:EN-IE">“If there

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was no pollination, some of the wild flora would disappear over time,

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agriculture-dependant crops would suffer with poor returns and fruit crops

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would be poorly formed. Every encouragement should be made to foster beekeeping

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as the environment depends so much on the bee.

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mso-fareast-font-family:"Times New Roman";mso-fareast-language:EN-IE">“The main

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enemy of beekeepers is American and European ‘foul brood’. If this goes

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unchecked it will have disastrous effects on Irish beekeeping. In America,

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farmers are now paying over $100 per hive for pollination services and there is

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a worrying shortage of honey bees there.”

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mso-fareast-font-family:"Times New Roman";mso-fareast-language:EN-IE">Irish

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farmers, in particular, have a huge role to play in preserving the land but the

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race to increase farm size and profit has been a huge factor in the declining

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health of the Irish bee.

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mso-fareast-font-family:"Times New Roman";mso-fareast-language:EN-IE">The

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society hopes to play its part in advising farmers on the use of pesticides,

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the maintenance of hedgerows and the importance of the Rural Environment

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Protection Scheme (REPS) in increasing forage for these tiny insects.

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mso-fareast-font-family:"Times New Roman";mso-fareast-language:EN-IE">The

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society’s public relations officer Aoife Nic Giolla Coda spent three years as

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secretary of Co Clare’s Banner Beekeepers’ Association.

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"Times New Roman";mso-fareast-language:EN-IE">She argues: “The majority of

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Irish people do not know that we have a honey bee which is native to this

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island at all. Education, therefore, is vital for both the general public and

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beginner beekeepers, allowing them to understand how our native honey bee

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outperforms its rivals under testing climatic conditions.

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"Times New Roman";mso-fareast-language:EN-IE"> 

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IRISH TIMES ARTICLE

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"Times New Roman","serif""> 

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