Bees are in the news here

There is the hint of spring in the UK now. Pockets of white snowdrops, green tipped daffodils, busy birds and budding trees all jostle for space on Instagram, and Valentine’s Day is just around the corner.

Hurray. A hopeful time. Perhaps a chance for less gloom.

But … all is not well in the buzzing hedgerows.

You hear the bad news just as you’re bracing yourself for another day. It seems a group of pesticides – neonicotinoids (neonics for short) – more or less banned in the European Union, may be used by sugar beet farmers here to protect their crops from aphids. What? you think, as a nice person from the government assures you that farmers will have to complete an assault course of paperwork and crawl through thick gorse naked, even to be in with a chance of using this deadly chemical – deadly to aphids – so there is no need for you to worry. It will only be a tiny bit used, if used at all.

Hmmm, you think. What’s going on?

Well, luckily a scientist pops up next to explain. He does not sound happy when he tells you that neonics, these most efficacious of aphid eliminators, are like Novichok for bees. You pause and listen a little harder. Novichok? That, everyone knows surely, is the poison favoured by shadowy autocrats to terminate any of their opposition lingering around the cathedral cities of England. Not friendly. Not good at all. So why, you ponder, is the government about to allow this to be sprayed on home soil? Surely we’re green and friendly. It is one thing we’re doing right isn’t it? Well, it doesn’t sound like it. The unhappy scientist says just one teaspoon of neonics can kill over a billion bees.

A billion bees.

How are you supposed to get on with your day after that? However springy it is.

Here is a link to a piece outlining both sides of the argument.

Copyright Georgie Knaggs & The Phraser 2023