It is tempting to write about the snow this week, but by the time you read this, it will probably already be gone (I tend to write this article a week ahead of the release date). So I am hoping at the time of reading, the snow has begun to melt and spring will be upon us once more. We’ve already been seeing snowdrops and trees are beginning to come into bud. It is only a matter of time until we see queen bumblebees emerge from hibernation.
Reading the news over the past few weeks; it seems we are on the verge of a complete ban on neonicotinoids. This means our bees and other pollinating insects could now stand a fighting chance of surviving and hopefully thriving in their new neonicotinoid free environment. I’m sure readers will also be happy to hear that they will no longer potentially be ingesting neonicotinoids every time they eat some honey.
What you might not realise though, is that you might be subjecting bees to neonicotinoids in your own garden. If like me, you are trying to do everything you can to provide flowering plants throughout the seasons. You may be disheartened to hear that recent research into garden centre plants has found that some plants can contain high levels of pesticides. This includes neonicotinoids and fungicides at a level known to cause sub-lethal harm to bees. If you would like to lower the risk of exposing bees to these chemicals, it is therefore worth considering buying plants from organic nurseries, plant swap with others, or grow plants from seeds instead.
Spring flowers that are beneficial to bees and other pollinators at this time of year include: bluebells, bugle, California lilac, comfrey, crocus, dicentra, flowering currant, lungwort, mahonia, pieris and pussy willow. I can definitely agree with the flowering willows, in springtime this is one of the best places to go and find bees on the reserve!
Laura Preston, Falls of Clyde Ranger
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