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Bees in Crisis
Bees love catnip but did you know our bees are in trouble, a lot of trouble? There are many reports of entire colonies dying, known as Colony Collapse Disorder or CCD in the United States. It is not just isolated to the US, beekeepers in the UK have been losing up to 40% of their hives over the winter months. Not just some bees all bees including bumblebees and honey bees. What would we do without honey? More importantly bees are the best way of pollinating crops. Fewer bees mean fewer crops.
46 of the world’s 115 leading food crops use pollination services to increase edible yield.
There are many reasons which have been given for CCD; however, recent changes in legislation indicate there is fairly strong evidence which points to a group of chemical pesticides called neonicotinoids. First used in the 1990s in commercial farming it appears to coincide with huge numbers of colonies being wiped out. There is a lot of international pressure to have these chemicals banned and the EU has recently suspended the use of three types of neonicotinoid. However, there are still others that have not yet been sanctioned.
The amount of clothianidin on a single maize seed treated at the dose of 0.5mg per kernel contains enough active ingredient to kill over 80,000 honey bees.
Chrstian Krupke – Purdue University
Bees Love Catnip
Fortunately there are things you can do to help bees out. The first of which is to not use these types of pesticide in your garden or allotment. There is a natural repellent, which is more powerful than DEET, called nepetalactone which is found in catnip!
Catnips’ awesomeness doesn’t stop there. Although mosquitos and greenfly hate catnip, it is a firm favourite with bees. With lots of tiny flowers there is plenty of nectar and pollen for the bees to eat. Catnip is truly the hero of bees, that’s why bees love catnip!
Other ways you can help our bees out is to buy organic foods which have not been treated with pesticides, or you could even take up beekeeping!
More information about bees and the link with pesticides can be found in this pdf from Pesticide Action Network UK.
The Soil Association is also running a campaign called “Keep Britain Buzzing” which is well worth checking out.