We are looking forward to welcoming you to our Moths event this Friday. We will begin at 9pm and finish late (when we get bored!!). Location directions are enclosed but it’s just off the A49 opposite the turning for Much Birch Surgery. First right – the street view shows it well. If anyone wants to they can join me in the morning at 6.30am to check out what the traps have brought in but we should catch a few things leading up to 11pm anyway.
If you can’t make it for any reason please let me know.
Project officer, Hidden Herefordshire
If you have not heard about the challenges facing bees and other pollinator insects, you must be living under a rock. Intensive use of land by the fast expanding human population, how we farm or even look after our garden has placed significant pressure on the bee population. That is why some clever people created World Bee Day. It is a good idea to set aside one day, to reflect on bees, and the day is 20th of May every year.
So, what are the things you can do on World Bee Day to remember and take action that can help these lovely creatures?
Create awareness by sending a FREE World Bee Day eCard
Some of the human activities that are negatively impacting the bees are born of ignorance rather than deliberate lack of care for the bees. So, why not send a FREE Happy Bee Day eCard to your friends and family, to help raise awareness about bees. Charity eCard website, Hope Spring is offering free save the bees eCards on their website. Just visit the free ecards section of their website, use the provided token to send a free Happy Bee Day eCard.
Improve your knowledge of the challenges facing the bees
Bees are beset by the same environmental challenges as other species, including habitat loss, degradation, and fragmentation; non-native species and diseases; pollution, including pesticides; and climate change.
Here in the UK, Changes in land use, including insensitive urban development and intensive farming, have caused great losses and fragmentation of pollinator-friendly habitats. This leads to bees losing the diverse and nutritional food sources required for their healthy diet.
It’s important that bees have enough flowers to forage – and safe places to use for nesting, among vegetation, the soil and hedges. But since World War II, we have lost about 98% of our wildflower meadows, leaving the bees with little natural habitat.
Climate change is also having an impact. The shift in temperatures and seasons affects when insects are active and when food is available, which may no longer coincide. New pests and diseases can also strike as the climate changes, devastating bee colonies which have little or no resistance. Bees feel the effects of climate change more greatly than those of habitat disturbance. A recent research found that the abundance and diversity of bee populations are heavily determined by weather conditions. During the study, higher temperatures and more intense rainfall during Winter and Spring months were associated with a lower abundance of wild bees. It is undeniable that climate change poses a huge threat to the wild bee population, and hence our global food supply.
The use of pesticides has also been identified as one of the causes of decline in bee population.
A study by Dr Richard Gill of Imperial College London, shows how factors associated with land use change affects pollinating insects. He says, ‘They target what are known as nicotinic acetylcholinesterase receptors. These are similar receptors to those that nicotine binds to in humans.’
‘Effectively, this information instructs the insect on how to move, think and learn. Normally, a second molecule will then come and break down the substance that is stimulating the nerve.’
With neonicotinoids, however, this is where the problems arise. The molecule of neonicotinoid has high affinity to the receptor, meaning that it is very difficult to break down.
‘Basically, it causes the insects to become hyperactive. Excess stimulation and the insect has a seizure, a bit like an epileptic fit,’ says Richard.
Save the bees
About two-thirds of the crop plants that feed the world rely on pollination by insects or other animals to produce healthy fruits and seeds for human consumption. Pollination benefits human nutrition – enabling not only the production of an abundance of fruits, nuts and seeds, but also more variety and better quality.
Below are some of the things you and I can do to help curb the alarming decline in bee population:
- Plant native wildflowers
- Keep part or all of your garden untidy, to make more room for wildlife
- Adopt a beehive
- Support smaller, local, organic farms
- Create awareness by sending bee ecards to your friends and colleagues
- Support current bills and other pollinator initiatives
Spring into action in 2022 with a herb foraging walk in the Birches. Walk from The Hive in Much Birch, along part of the Hereford Trail into Little Birch and onward to Athestan wood. The walk is led by herb expert Rowan McOnegal.
With winter giving way to spring, the fields and hedgerows are waking up with tender shoots of leaves, buds and flowers along the walk route. Rowan McOnegal will highlight the common plants along the way; how they can be used for food or medicine and which plants to stay well away from.
You will have ample opportunity to ask Rowan questions and you may even be able to pick springtime herbs with cleansing properties to help you clean out the dregs of winter and put a spring into your steps for the rest of the year!
Spring Herb Walk from Much Birch More information
Rowan McOnegal studied herbal medicine at the School of Herbal Medicine (Phytotherapy), and botany at the University of Birmingham. She qualified as a medical herbalist in 1990.
She is a consultant Medical Herbalist and an artist. For many years Rowan grew and made most of her own medicines, whilst teaching others to do likewise. You can find more information about her on her website Hedgerow Medicine.
Book Your Place
Space on the walk is limited, so it is important that you book your place well in advance.
Questions? Email: firstname.lastname@example.org or call Temi on : 07939 276451
We are pleased to announce our first log hive making workshop in Herefordshire. As a participant, you will learn the skills you need to make a log hive. You will learn to design and make a log hive to stand on stilts, or to be placed securely, high up on a tree. A log hive is like a bee hotel for honeybees. It mimics the preferred home of honey bees in nature. Offering insulation against the cold in winter and a barrier against heat in the summer months.
Once you learn the skills you need to build a log hive, you are ready to build one for your garden or for family and friends, helping to save and encourage bees conservation in your area.
The workshop includes discussion on the life cycle of bees in the wild, how to prepare a hive and encourage bees to move in. There will be a wider discussion on how to help honey bees and other pollinator insects.
Date: October 2022
Time: 9.30 – 5PM
Facilitators: Temi Odurinde and Donald Broughton
Venue: The Hive, Much Birch. Herefordshire
For more information, please use the contact form here.
Honey bees are probably the most domesticated insects in the world, if you can describe keeping bees as domesticating them. We have been so successful at keeping bees, that their “wild” cousins, living freely in their natural habitat are not so common any more.
An awesome project called Free Living Honey Bees promotes and shares the joy of seeing honey bees spotting in their natural habitat. You can find information about wild honey bees from the UK and around the world on the website. If you spot a wild bee colony, you can share pictures and videos of it with the community.