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Ireland is buzzing as 68 organisations enlist to save our Bees

September 17th 2015 sees the launch of the All-Ireland Pollinator Plan, which identifies actions to help protect pollinators and the livelihoods of farmers who rely on their invaluable pollination service.

Waterford/Dublin, Thursday September 17th, 2015 – Sixty-eight governmental and nongovernmental organisations have agreed a shared plan of action to tackle pollinator decline and make Ireland a place where pollinators can survive and thrive.

The All-Ireland Pollinator Plan 2015-2020, published today, makes Ireland one of the first countries in Europe with a strategy to address pollinator decline and protect pollination services. The initiative has generated huge support and has culminated in agreement to deliver 81 actions to make Ireland more pollinator friendly.

The Plan identifies actions that can be taken on farmland, public land and private land. These include creating pollinator highways along our transport routes, making our public parks pollinator friendly and encouraging the public to see their gardens as potential pit-stops for our busy bees.



Putting nature at the heart of plans for farming and for water

Environment sector sets out visions for farming and for water in two influential publications.

Voluntary organisations have come together to produce ambitious visions for England’s farmland and the country’s water.  Wildlife and Countryside Link (Link) - a coalition of 46 voluntary organisations, which the Bumblebee Conservation Trust are members of – have produced two significant publications. Farming fit for the Future and Water Matters put restoration of the natural environment at the heart of plans for the future management of farmland, rivers, lakes and wetlands in England.

Link’s Director, Dr Elaine King, said:  “Farming and water are so closely linked.  We therefore want the Government to take an integrated approach to ensuring that our land and water can provide us with life’s essentials: healthy food, clean drinking water, protection from flooding, secure livelihoods and access to beautiful green and blue spaces with thriving nature.

“Specialists on water and agriculture, from across Link’s member organisations, have contributed their expertise to simultaneously create powerful visions for farming and our water, at a time when action needs to be taken to reverse the decline in our natural environment.”



Royal Mail Issues Special Stamps Illustrating The Beauty Of British Bees

Royal Mail today launched a set of 10 Special Stamps that celebrate the UK’s bee populations. The stamps feature illustrated images of various bee species from across the UK including two bumblebees – the Great yellow and Bilberry.

New research commissioned by Royal Mail finds that although people care about the nation’s bee population, there is very little knowledge about them in general. Over half of people questioned (53%) could not name any type of bee – despite nearly 87% saying they care about the bee population in the UK.

Findings also discovered that only 3% of people were aware there are around 250 species of bee living in the UK, with the majority (71%) believing there were fewer than 20. Nevertheless, over half (56%) said they did try to encourage bees into their garden by planting bee-friendly plant varieties.



Florally transmitted diseases (FTDs): a newly discovered threat to bee communities.

New research led by award winning scientist Dr Peter Graystock at the University of Leeds, in collaboration with Professor William Hughes and Professor Dave Goulson of the University of Sussex, shows that diseased bees deposit parasites on to the flowers they visit. These parasites can then infect healthy bees visiting the same flowers, or be transported by an unsusceptible bee species to other flowers to reach their host species.

In a neatly designed experiment, the researchers allowed bumblebees from hives infected with three different bumblebee diseases to forage on a patch of flowers in a flight cage for a period of 3 hours before removing them from the cage. They then released disease-free honey bees into the cage and allowed them to forage for a further 3 hours on the same flowers, as well as a patch of uncontaminated flowers which were brought in at the same time. Immediately afterwards, the shared flower patch, the honeybee only flower patch and the honey bees were all screened for the bumblebee parasites with alarming results. All three of the parasites were detected on the shared flowers, while two out of three were detected on the flowers which only the honeybees had access to, as well as inside the honeybee colonies.


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