Wednesday 12 May 2010

Reduced plant diversity linked to bee numbers

Our insect friends need help!

I’ve been reading in the news about how the population of honey bees has been in decline in Europe and the US. It’s not a new story but there have been some interesting developments lately. Scientists have had trouble pinning down exactly why the bees are dying… until just recently that is. An article on the BBC news website says that the decline of bees may be linked to reduced plant diversity. If what they say is true, then it’s up to us to grow a more diverse range of plants, and surely it should be a priority since we rely on bees to play their part in pollinating certain plants so we can grow crops to eat. In any event, it would be good to see more varieties of plants out in the countryside, rather than just the typical staple crops and other fruits and vegetables grown to sell in the supermarkets. People that grow a range of flora in their gardens are creating an oasis of diversity for our insect friends; a garden with an artificially maintained pristine green lawn (like the ones you see on TV) and a few select shrubs on the other hand, might look good, but it’s pretty lacking in its variety of plant life. So everyone with a garden can do something! The farmers have got to play their part, so I guess we’ll wait and see what happens on that one. I suppose I could stereotype them into a group who get big subsidies (especially in France) and don’t give a monkey’s about the environment. But that would be unfair to the environmentally conscious ones out there. And they get money from the EU for doing environmentally friendly things on their land, so if a few more bob from the EU would help save the bees, then I think it would be worth doing.

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