We have young swifts (Apus apus) playing slalom and follow my leader through the telephone wires and the air is filled with shrieks that would do that attractive tennis player Maria Sharpova credit. (By the way the DT recorded her this year at 103.2 decibels at Wimbledon and a rather vulgar thought has crossed my mind!) I digress.
The sound I have missed so far this spring and summer is the gentle buzzing of honey bees visiting the garden. For the past 20 years, as the various shrubs and flowers in the Biggles' jungle riotously come into flower in succession from March onwards, the honey bees(Apis mellifera) have followed to grab nectar and pollen. This year, other than the occasional bumble bee, butterfly or solitary bee looking for a hole in the wall to fill with bits of leaf and lay an egg, the honey bees have been noticeably absent. Is it just that my eyesight and hearing are worse than I think, or have other readers noticed the lack of honey bees in their gardens?
The wet June last year was not good for them and I am wondering if the period of heavy rain in late May has had a similar effect this year or is it what the Americans have described as 'colony collapse disorder'?
The US is taking the matter seriously and Congress has held hearings on the problem and has voted $10 million for research. The US estimates that bees are responsible for polinating a third of its crops and that crop value resulting from bee pollination is put at $15 BILLION! A blue-berry farmer from Maine told the Congressional hearing , "Every one of my blue-berries owes its existence to the crazy, neurotic dancing of a honey bee from flower to flower, 'No bees No Crops!"
The implications for our own agricultural industry could be equally serious if honey bees become as rare a sighting as some TDC Planning Committee members on a site visit.
Out and about in Ramsgate this morning photos - Here are the links to the photos all part of my experiments to put a lot of pictures online easily, note the funny lines on the images because the compres...
5 hours ago