Please support Friends of the Bees to keep this forum free to use.

Natural Beekeeping International Forum
low-cost, low-impact, balanced beekeeping for everyone

 Forum FAQFAQ   SearchSearch   MemberlistMemberlist   UsergroupsUsergroups   RegisterRegister 
 ProfileYour Profile   Log in to check your private messagesLog in to check your private messages   Log inLog in 

Please Read The Rules before posting.



(country selected automatically - UK/USA/CA/AU)
Himalayan balsam not so bad after all!
Goto page Previous  1, 2
 
Post new topic   Reply to topic    beekeeping forum -> Environmental issues, GM, pesticides and campaigning
View previous topic :: View next topic  
Author Message
BBC
Scout Bee


Joined: 11 Jul 2012
Posts: 398
Location: Bicker, Lincolnshire, UK

PostPosted: Sat Jul 26, 2014 12:05 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Barbara wrote:
Colin, why not try using" google earth" to check out your local river banks/streams and ditches to find where there are pink areas and then go and collect some seed yourself.


Hello Barbara. If only.

I live in a man-made and heavily sprayed landscape, which over the years has essentially become a nectar desert. Thousands upon thousands of acres of cabbages, sprouts, potatoes and feed wheat. The few remaining green fields are now cut for silage. Straw is exported, hay for horses is imported. Field margins are cut and sprayed to make them 'neat and tidy'. One of my friends from Wales calls this area 'the allotments'. Indeed, without OSR, I couldn't even think about keeping bees !

Yet I don't hear of too many environmentalists getting steamed-up about farming practices in this area ...

The reason I've appealed for HB seeds is that I've never seen it along our ditches (called 'drains') which are sprayed annually with Roundup to keep the reeds at bay, nor along our local rivers, the Witham and Welland. I believe it exists much further upstream, but by the time the rivers get to this area, they've become tidal - so maybe HB doesn't like salt-water ?

One member has very kindly offered to send me some seeds, so hopefully my girls will be having some variation in their diet in the years to come. Smile

'best,
Colin
BBC
_________________
Bees build Brace Comb for a reason, not just to be bloody-minded.
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
catchercradle
Golden Bee


Joined: 31 May 2010
Posts: 1487
Location: Cambridge, UK

PostPosted: Sun Jul 27, 2014 7:45 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:
Yet I don't hear of too many environmentalists getting steamed-up about farming practices in this area ...


Similar farming practices to the Cambridgeshire fens. I am involved with a community supported agriculture scheme at one of the few organic farms in the area but that is 67acres surrounded by farms that are hundreds of acres in size. My own bees are better off being within Cambridge City boundary but I still feel the need to do some guerilla planting. I have confined myself to phacelia and borage along the banks of an ex railway cutting now guided busway however.

And there are environmentalists speaking out about the East of England monoculture deserts that typify farming practises in our areas, just not that many of them and not loud enough.
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
Barbara
Site Admin


Joined: 27 Jul 2011
Posts: 1569
Location: England/Co.Durham/Ebchester

PostPosted: Sun Jul 27, 2014 8:52 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Well I tried an HB flower yesterday and sadly I was disappointed with the flavour. I expected to be able to detect at least some of the sweetness of the nectar but surprisingly it was actually very slightly sour (almost vinegary rather than sour fruit flavour and slightly bitter) I try to keep an open mind about things but it didn't really tempt me to harvest anymore for food. Would rather leave it for my bees to make it into something much better tasting!

So sad to hear that some of you have such poor local forage for your bees. It's too easy for me to toddle around in my own little part of the world where the hedgerows are awash with colour and not realise how shocking things have become elsewhere. I think the difficulty is that farmers have got so used to throwing chemicals at things as the easy option, that they become totally complacent about it. I don't know how you would even start to open their eyes to it and even if you could, they are probably too deeply committed to the system that they would struggle to change and yes, food would become more expensive.
It makes me realise that it is important for me to grow as much of my own food as possible. If the majority of people did that, then that would perhaps alleviate the pressure on the land that is farmed.
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message MSN Messenger
catchercradle
Golden Bee


Joined: 31 May 2010
Posts: 1487
Location: Cambridge, UK

PostPosted: Sun Jul 27, 2014 12:05 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

A bit off topic I know but the problem is a long standing one and stems from big firms wanting to maximise profits. Small organic farms produce more food/acre but much less/man/woman hours work. Even paying minimum wage or close to it labour is the major cost in food production, especially on small farms.

This makes the large areas of monocrop desert the most profitable for those who own large amounts of land.

Large areas of monocrop attract what are seen as pests rather than part of the ecosystem and hence lots of chemicals are used.

Unless a government is prepared to change the system so that it favours the small extensive farmers more this is unlikely to change.
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
stevecook172001
Site Admin


Joined: 19 Jul 2013
Posts: 443
Location: Loftus, Cleveland

PostPosted: Sun Jul 27, 2014 1:21 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Barbara wrote:
....It makes me realise that it is important for me to grow as much of my own food as possible. If the majority of people did that, then that would perhaps alleviate the pressure on the land that is farmed.
Sadly, because of the insane system we live in, I suspect if lots of people grew their own food, this would push the price of food down, in turn forcing farmers to turn to even more ecologically damaging, but short term profit maintaining, methods of production. The problem is obscene land prices born on the back of monstrous debt that has to be constantly serviced and too many people. In the end, it always come down to the elephant in the room of too many people. None of this will end well for us or for the rest of life.
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
BBC
Scout Bee


Joined: 11 Jul 2012
Posts: 398
Location: Bicker, Lincolnshire, UK

PostPosted: Mon Jul 28, 2014 8:35 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

stevecook172001 wrote:
Barbara wrote:
....It makes me realise that it is important for me to grow as much of my own food as possible. If the majority of people did that, then that would perhaps alleviate the pressure on the land that is farmed.
Sadly, because of the insane system we live in, I suspect if lots of people grew their own food, this would push the price of food down, in turn forcing farmers to turn to even more ecologically damaging, but short term profit maintaining, methods of production.


I don't pretend to even begin to understand the world of finance and economics - for it all sounds so contrived to my ears - but I do know that the food market is 'heavily rigged'.
It starts with huge subsidies from Brussels, intended (I believe) to prop up the small 'peasant' farmers of France - but which is now lining the pockets of our English grain barons.

The next bit of craziness lies in the purchasing policies of supermarkets. For every food known to man must always be 'in season', despite the thousands of air miles it needs to travel.

Then, much closer to home, are their policies regarding 'uniformity' - so that each year I witness a good 20-25% (and if the weather's bad, much more) of perfectly edible cabbage or cauliflower being ploughed back into the ground. That, to my mind. is nothing short of criminal behaviour - but it keeps the supermarkets happy, and their prices for these products relatively high.

If cabbages or caulies are undersize, or misshapen (it happens, despite the best efforts of food scientists), then they could so easily be used to make coleslaw or processed in some other way - but in order to keep retail prices for 'perfect food' high, so much is destroyed - year after year.

I've argued about this scenario on several occasions, only to be told that I don't understand economics. You're so bl##dy right I don't.

Quote:
The problem is obscene land prices born on the back of monstrous debt that has to be constantly serviced


Yes - and that because the lion's share of agricultural land is now owned by big business, pension funds etc. The days of a farmer passing-on land to his sons are long gone. And where investment companies are involved, all that matters is short-term financial return. And if that means spraying the h#ll out of the earth, then so be it.

Quote:
and too many people. In the end, it always come down to the elephant in the room of too many people.


Of course. Expansionism is a fixed mind-set upon which it appears that all current economic policies are based. Once the (insane) belief in the viability of perpetual growth becomes discredited, the whole pack of cards will come tumbling down.

Colin
BBC
_________________
Bees build Brace Comb for a reason, not just to be bloody-minded.
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
BBC
Scout Bee


Joined: 11 Jul 2012
Posts: 398
Location: Bicker, Lincolnshire, UK

PostPosted: Fri Nov 21, 2014 1:41 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I've just stumbled across:
http://www.fera.defra.gov.uk/plants/documents/pucciniaConsultationResponse.pdf
which is a plan by DEFRA to release a non-native rust fungus into the wild which targets HB.
The fungal spores travel on the wind, several miles in one night, and once released, the spread of this fungus will be uncontrollable. There are no contingency plans in place in the event of anything going wrong.

The only 'economic loss' case being made against these proposals is the loss of revenue from the sale of seeds. There is no mention whatsoever of the economic loss to the beekeeping sector which would result from the wholesale destruction of such a valuable nectar-producing plant.

Thought this might be of interest.

Colin
BBC
_________________
Bees build Brace Comb for a reason, not just to be bloody-minded.
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
catchercradle
Golden Bee


Joined: 31 May 2010
Posts: 1487
Location: Cambridge, UK

PostPosted: Fri Nov 21, 2014 12:50 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I still come down on the side of seeing HB as a damaging species. Certainly along hte banks of the Cam. My concern about introducing this rust virus to control it is what else it might effect that they haven't thought ot.
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
ingo50
Scout Bee


Joined: 30 May 2014
Posts: 311
Location: Newport, Gwent, Wales, UK

PostPosted: Fri Nov 21, 2014 1:35 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

What about Japanese Knotweed, far more invasive and of no use to bees.
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
zaunreiter
Moderator Bee


Joined: 26 Nov 2007
Posts: 3097
Location: Germany, NorthWest

PostPosted: Fri Nov 21, 2014 3:27 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

ingo50 wrote:
What about Japanese Knotweed, far more invasive and of no use to bees.


That's wrong - I got a late flow on Japanese Knotweed and it saved me feeding for this apiary! It is a red coloured honey and very tasty!

Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
Lacewing
Guard Bee


Joined: 08 Sep 2012
Posts: 96
Location: Powys, Mid Wales

PostPosted: Fri Nov 21, 2014 3:50 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

And, UK beekeepers: Have you seen items in the news just this week about new Home Office rules making failure to control not only Japanese knotweed but also Himalayan balsam and giant hogweed a criminal offence? With those being prosecuted liable to receive fines and ASBOs?

- See various newspapers and the BBC.

(Perhaps, in yet another week in which the news provokes me to fury or almost beggars belief - eg. the London New Era Estate property story - it's surprising that I noticed it!)
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
biobee
Site Admin


Joined: 14 Jun 2007
Posts: 1051
Location: UK, England, S. Devon

PostPosted: Fri Nov 21, 2014 7:04 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

More confirmation that we are living in an asylum run by the inmates.

And yes, I have seen several bee species on Japanese knotweed too - they seemed very excited about it.
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
ingo50
Scout Bee


Joined: 30 May 2014
Posts: 311
Location: Newport, Gwent, Wales, UK

PostPosted: Fri Nov 21, 2014 10:13 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Must be a different species of that in my neighbours garden, never seen any bees on it, my apologies to you all, I have been enlightened.
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
catchercradle
Golden Bee


Joined: 31 May 2010
Posts: 1487
Location: Cambridge, UK

PostPosted: Sun Nov 23, 2014 11:12 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

They will prosecute you for allowing your bees to pollinate it. Twisted Evil
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
ingo50
Scout Bee


Joined: 30 May 2014
Posts: 311
Location: Newport, Gwent, Wales, UK

PostPosted: Mon Nov 24, 2014 8:38 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

No chance, I gave all my bees a lecture about avoiding H balsam including a health and safety update. They have agreed to enforce a voluntary no fly zone. Very Happy
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
vorlic
New Bee


Joined: 02 Aug 2015
Posts: 2
Location: Leeds, UK

PostPosted: Sun Aug 02, 2015 9:18 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hello all,

I am no beekeeper (shame), nor am I an "Invasive Species Officer" (no shame), but I am very interested in discussing these matters... if only out of principle and a desire to pursue the truth...

My wife and I visited a Nature Reserve today, with our two toddlers in tow. We spotted some Himalayan Balsam, and were interested to see honeybees swarming all over it. Upon returning to the Visitor Centre, I asked some of the expert volunteers what they thought about this, and whether they thought we were right to be removing HB when the poor bees are apparently having such a hard time... needless to say, I didn't get a clear answer.

Maybe someone here will be able to help - here's one question which might get the ball rolling on this discussion again?!

Are plants obliged to carry passports? The last time I tried to ask the plants in my garden, they couldn't speak English; never mind produce documents proving their identity, nationality and indefinite leave to remain...


Last edited by vorlic on Sun Aug 02, 2015 9:55 pm; edited 1 time in total
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
greengage
Guard Bee


Joined: 26 Jan 2015
Posts: 62
Location: Ireland

PostPosted: Wed Aug 05, 2015 7:35 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Its on our invasive palnt list here in Ireland too.
http://invasivespeciesireland.com/toolkit/invasive-plant-management/terrestrial-plants/himalayan-balsam/
Maybe ill start a discussion amongs beekeepers over here and see what the have to say.
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
vorlic
New Bee


Joined: 02 Aug 2015
Posts: 2
Location: Leeds, UK

PostPosted: Wed Aug 05, 2015 10:30 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

How do the authorities behind the production and publishing of these "lists" suggest we prevent "invasive" seeds being brought here on the wind, in the stomachs of migratory birds, in the rivers and oceans, and by any other force of nature over which we have no control?!

Henry VI - "The first thing we do, let's kill all the lawyers!"
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
Display posts from previous:   
Post new topic   Reply to topic    beekeeping forum -> Environmental issues, GM, pesticides and campaigning All times are GMT
Goto page Previous  1, 2
Page 2 of 2

 
Jump to:  
You cannot post new topics in this forum
You cannot reply to topics in this forum
You cannot edit your posts in this forum
You cannot delete your posts in this forum
You cannot vote in polls in this forum

SPECIAL OFFER FOR UK FORUM MEMBERS - Buy your protective clothing here and get a special 15% discount! (use the code BAREFOOTBEEKEEPER at checkout and be sure to 'update basket')



Are the big energy companies bleeding you dry?


Is way too much of your hard-earned family income going up in smoke?

Are you worried about what could happen if the ageing grid system fails?

You need to watch this short video NOW to find out how YOU can cut your energy bills TO THE BONE within 30 days!

WATCH THE VIDEO NOW



(country selected automatically - UK/USA/CA/AU)

Conserving wild bees

Research suggests that bumble bee boxes have a very low success rate in actually attracting bees into them. We find that if you create an environment where first of all you can attract mice inside, such as a pile of stones, a drystone wall, paving slabs with intentionally made cavities underneath, this will increase the success rate.

Most bumble bee species need a dry space about the size a football, with a narrow entrance tunnel approximately 2cm in diameter and 20 cm long. Most species nest underground along the base of a linear feature such as a hedge or wall. Sites need to be sheltered and out of direct sunlight.

There is a spectacular display of wild bee hotels here

More about bumblebees and solitary bees here

Information about the Tree Bumblebee (Bombus hypnorum)

Barefoot Beekeeper Podcast



Now available from Lulu.com


Now available from Lulu.com


Now available from Lulu.com


4th Edition paperback now available from Lulu.com

See beekeeping books for details and links to ebook versions.
site map
php. BB © 2001, 2005 php. BB Group

View topic - Himalayan balsam not so bad after all! - Natural Beekeeping Network Forum