Beeing good.

I don't know what it is about bees, but their plight really bothers me.

I work in a pretty rural area and constantly ponder on the lack of bird life you see in anything but the wildest bits of the Fens. I know it's recovered land, but the intensity of farming does seem to result in a surprisingly low level of wildlife. Back "home" in Norfolk, I remember huge flocks of starlings descending on the garden at the first sign of food. And dozens of sparrows everywhere you went. Round here, you rarely see the same thing. For some reason though, it never really strikes a chord of concern. Bees though, they're another matter.

Since taking a more active interest in gardening, I've inevitably started taking much more notice of nature in general. I've started composting before I've even got anywhere to put a heap. I've started growing wild flower seedlings before I have anywhere to plant them. And all so I can start bringing wildlife into my plot as soon as I've got it, so nature's great food pyramid can hopefully go to work on the undesirable elements and I don't have to bring non-organic methods of pest control into play.

I'll probably bung up a bird box and a feeder or two once I'm onto my plot. I've also got plans to dig a pond in the hope of attracting frogs and toads in to keep the slugs at bay. I've also got it in mind to try and incorporate somewhere safe and warm for a hedgehog or two to tuck themselves away. The very first thing I want to do though is establish flowers and a box for bees.

I'm not sure if it's the fact that birds are inherently more mobile - the thought that, in my mind at least, there's always somewhere else they can go if the going gets tough around here. Of if it's just that they're higher up the food chain and somehow less vulnerable to man's influence. Either way, they don't concern me in the same way as bees do.

I ought to hate bees. At a young and tender age, I sat down on a kitchen chair at home and, as I did so, got stung by one in the back of my knee. I can still remember the pain now, 30 odd years later. I got stung in a similar way by a wasp around the same time and have had a healthy loathing for them ever since.

I think the one thing above all though, which really bugs me about bees (no pun intended) is that we're casually wiping them out without even the slightest hint of concern. I guess the main reason this offends me so much is the very simple and rudimentary role they play in the pollination process. If we lose them, nature could very well start to fall apart at the most basic of levels.

It staggers me that, as a member of the EU, we no longer allow church wardens to climb a step ladder to change the candles in a church for "health and safety" reasons, in spite of the fact they've been doing so for hundreds of years without incident, yet, at the same time, we can somehow ignore the ban on neonicotinoid pesticides in many parts of Europe and happily carry on using them in the UK, in spite of their potentially cataclysmic effect in the bee population.

And it's for that reason, I now find myself pondering on whether I should keep worshipping the great shopping god which is Tesco. Or whether maybe I ought to be considering a trip to my local Coop instead? I've always loved their ethical stance. A lot of the food's also better quality. The only thing deterring me is convenience.

But when they foster campaigns like Plan Bee, I have to start asking whether I should begin putting myself out slightly to support a cause I find admirable?


March 1, 2010 В· admin В· No Comments
Tags:  В· Posted in: Wildlife

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