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Bee population falls by 65 percent in six years

The decline of Bermuda's bee population has prompted environmentalists to organise a fair dedicated to the flying insects.

The event will be held at Bermuda Underwater Exploration Institute on Saturday, April 12, from 11am to 3.45pm, with a short film and panel discussion between 2.30pm and 3.30pm.

Judy Motyer, chairman of The Buzz, a sub-group of Bermuda Environmental and Sustainability Taskforce (BEST), said: “There is no question that bees — and other pollinators — are in steep decline worldwide.

“Almond and peach crops are threatened from California to the far reaches of China, as bees disappear and crops have to be pollinated by hand. On the Bermuda scene, you may have noticed that your cucumbers and pumpkins aren't producing very well, if at all.

“Something has upset the balance of nature and Bermuda has not been spared this experience — bee colony collapse disorder is what it is called generally.”

Ms Motyer said it was estimated that the Island's beehives had decreased by 65 percent since 2008.

She added that worldwide many factors were thought to be to blame, including climate change, extremely wet weather, drought, the use of insecticides and fungicides, varroa mites, wax moths, zombie flies and less arable land and bee-friendly vegetation.

“In reality, it is probably all of the above, forming a malicious cocktail of circumstances that our bees just can't stand up to — disrupting their behaviour, causing a loss of vitality and immunity, sociability and navigational ability.”

Ms Motyer said some factors could be controlled and others not but it was important the public was well informed.

“We, as group of concerned and somewhat informed individuals, want to raise public awareness about what bees do for us and what we appear to be doing to them,” she said. “The public can then make its own decisions about what you do.

“To start this off we are organising Bee Fair ... Bee There in BUEI's foyer and lecture hall. We want this to be a fun day for all the family, with stalls displaying bee-keeping techniques and equipment, bee friendly plants and products, school projects, fun merchandise and also some serious talks, panel discussions and films — a day to invite the Bermuda public to learn and reflect.

“We want the community to participate in the whole process and encourage the Bermuda public to do what they can to help our bees and make this part of their daily lives.”

The panel at the fair will include Government entomologist Claire Jessey, beekeeper Tommy Sinclair, farmer Carlos Amaral and scientist Thad Murdoch.

For more information contact Kim Smith at office@best.org.bm or 292-3782.

A bee collects pollen at Barr's Bay Park in Hamilton,. (Photo by Glenn Tucker)

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Published March 18, 2014 at 9:00 am (Updated March 18, 2014 at 9:25 am)

Bee population falls by 65 percent in six years

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