More Than Honey

More Than Honey film poster

If the bee disappears from the surface of the earth, man would have no more than four years to live.

Albert Einstein

We have spoken about our love for bees before – Claire has done two excellent posts on saving the bees and farming alternatives that don’t involve the use of neonicotinoid pesticide.

In addition to producing honey, bees are responsible for pollinating flowers. As it is described early on in the film, bees are helping flowers have procreate as, after all, flowers cannot just get up and mingle amongst each other themselves.

More Than Honey is a film created by Markus Imhoof and chronicles honeybee colonies in California, Switzerland, China and Australia. It talks about the problems facing modern bee-keeping and the loss of sometimes up to 90% of the bees in colonies – particularly disturbing as 80% of plant species require pollination.

The film opens in the UK later this year.

wedding-meCat works in the marketing team and is responsible for online marketing, social media and the newsletter.

She spends most of her time reading about a variety of interesting facts, such as oddly named Canadian towns, obscure holidays and unusual gardening.

She mostly writes about Primrose news and current events.

See all of Cat’s posts.

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The neonicotinoid ban – farming alternatives

bee

Yesterday a European commission vote passed a ban on neonicotinoid pesticide use. One of the major arguments against implementing this ban was farmers’ worries about a loss in income. British farmers have been spraying pesticide “insurance” treatments to prevent crop loss and damage, for over a decade. It is unlikely that treatment is necessary for all crop pests on such a regular basis.

Now that the EU has banned this class of harmful pesticides it is time for UK farmers to begin rethinking their approaches to pest management, and build new techniques in order to maintain healthy habitats for our wildlife.

There are plenty of options for farmers, include planting wildlife strips, using trap cropping, and choosing different crop varieties. Wildlife farming may play a key part in sustaining pollinators, keeping crops pest free while still keeping farmers and consumers happy.

The sowing of floral strips – mini wildlife strips that border a crop – can be extremely beneficial. When planted with native wildflower species the benefits are innumerable. Wildflowers maintain biological diversity by acting as a refuge for many wild species such as bees, hoverflies, and butterflies. Many of these are pollinators which provide economic benefits to the farmers’ crops. Floral strips are also home to the larvae of hoverflies, which play a part as natural pest control, as they feed on aphids.

Other options exist, such as trap cropping, for example using turnip rape which attract the pests away from the main crop to the companion crop. Reducing field plot sizes also improves biological control. Crop rotations can be diversified: a narrow rotation of wheat – wheat – oilseed rape can be replaced by rotations that include peas before oilseed rape, and growing sunflowers between wheat years. Farmers can also take advantage of the appropriate crop varieties, choosing those that are tolerant or resistant to diseases transferred by key pests.

More information can also be found in this fact sheet by the Pesticide Action Network UK.

Claire small Claire is a member the Primrose marketing team, working on online marketing.

She trained as a Botanist and has an MSc in Plant Diversity where she specialised in Plant and Bumblebee ecology.

She writes our ecology themed articles.

See all of Claire’s posts.

Potting Lavender Plugs in the Rain

For the first time ever, I found myself grateful for the overhanging trees on our neighbour’s property. Having received a package of lavender plants as part of our pledge to have more bee-friendly plants in the garden, my boys and I were adamant they were getting potted up despite the threat of rain.
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Lessons from the Garden SleepOut

Amid the excitement and success of the National Garden SleepOut I was keen to use the event as an opportunity to educate my children regarding its purpose. In addition to being a fabulous excuse to have fun under canvas, the SleepOut raised awareness of important issues in the UK and abroad. Two charities were supported by the event and I spent some time discovering more about these causes and how they related to our own lives. I was keen to see what they could teach us and whether this changes the way we utilise and manage our garden.

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SleepOut on the Allotment

Like many others across the country, we are getting ready for the National Garden SleepOut event that is taking place tonight kindly sponsored by Primrose. I love the idea of this and as a family we will be keen to take part in this every year.

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