Guest post by Cilla Platt, Education Officer, Isle of Man Beekeepers Federation

Have you ever noticed the hum of bees as you walk in the countryside, or worked in your garden?

Here on the Island we are extremely lucky as we have a thriving population of honey bees and our wild bees are not in freefall like elsewhere.

This is no lucky accident, it is due to the hard work of the IOM Federation of Beekeepers who have fought the honey bee’s corner.  The wild population of over 200 species of solitary and social bees has been helped by members of DEFA and the Wildlife Trust.  Of course those of you who are gardeners have played your part too!

Some farmers are now even planting a strip of wildflowers to encourage bugs of all kinds.

You may be one of those folks who thinks that the fewer creepy crawlies the better!

Think again!

Our food chain is heavily reliant on the beneficial insects, and even the bugs that eat our crops are food for our song birds.

Bees of every variety visit flowers carrying with them the male pollen to dust onto the next flower they visit.  This is the way seed is produced.

Seed that we eat and get oil from like sunflower, flax, pumpkin, rapeseed and many more.

Seed that we grow our food from like lettuce, celery, radish, aubergine, tomatoes and so many more.

Seed inside the fruit that we eat, without which the delicious outer part of the fruit would not develop.

Seed that we grow for beautiful flowers in our gardens, and of course the wild flowers in the countryside.

As beekeepers we are worried that the Varroa mite that has been decimating bees all over the world might reach our own shores.

Imported bees and second hand equipment is the way the Varroa Mite will come.

This is now illegal and with a large fine.

Just one honey bee arriving on our Island will bring the destructive mite, let alone a whole colony.  That would be like something from a horror film with a veritable army of aliens marching out sucking the life out of, and injecting diseases into, every honey bee!

You in so many ways can play your part in supporting our wonderful resident insects.

You can grow a few flowers in your garden, even weeds will do.

You can be aware of idle talk about bringing bees home. Tell the beekeepers. It is illegal.

You can look at the IOM Beekeepers Federation web site for more information.

If we do nothing we may no longer be able to hear that lazy drone of bees on a summers afternoon, or for that matter, eat our wonderful range of foods.




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