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Dead bees – Is there a problem?

Have seen dead bees?; where, when and in what numbers?…

DEAD BEES have been spotted in the streets around Hedon over the last week, and we are appealing to readers across the town to tell us if you too have noticed anything unusual with our local pollinators?

The dead insects seem to be mainly bumble bees but have included a variety of other kinds as well – as these pictures testify. It is not being suggested that anything sinister is going on with our local bee population; sudden deaths can be caused by extreme changes in weather and we are currently in a heatwave, but there is nobody who is actually monitoring the situation locally.

DEFRA (Department for Environment, Food & Rural Affairs) has described threats to bee populations and other pollinators from: land use (change of land use), local environmental impacts (such as the impacts from the mis-use of pesticides and other agrochemicals), weather and climate change, and pests and diseases (although not that much is known about the impacts on the wild population – only honey bees which are a managed species).

“Our pollinators face many threats and there are growing concerns that these threats are leading to declines in diversity and the geographical ranges of individual species. There is no single threat that seems to be driving this change; intensification in land-use, habitat loss, pests, diseases, invasive species, inappropriate use of agrochemicals and climate change are all thought to be playing a part.” – DEFRA review

Bees are an essential component of local agriculture. Crops rely, at least in part, on visits by bees to produce seeds and fruits.

We are asking Hedon Blog readers to let us know if you have seen dead bees; where, when and in what numbers?

Contact us by leaving a comment below, or e-mail your story or unusual photographs (stating location and date) to us at hedonblog@gmx.com – your help and observation will be much appreciated. We will collect the information and pass that on to DEFRA.

Photos: Taken between Thursday and Saturday (25th – 27th July) are samples of about 28 photographs taken on footpaths leading out of Hedon.

7 thoughts on “Dead bees – Is there a problem?

  1. Hi, we’re beekeepers in Keyingham, so I hope we can shed light on this.

    The pictures above are all different varieties of bumble bees. Their life span is 2-6 weeks (Queens live longer) so it’s perfectly normal and natural to see dead bees lying around at this time of year. No conspiracy 🙂

    Happy to answer any more questions you may have. Hope that helps!

    1. Thanks Claire – It seems that there are more dead bees than ever before… or is that just because I’m pro-actively searching the pavements now!?

      1. Hi Ray, possibly 😉 Most of the flowers have been pollinated this season by now, so the numbers of bees are starting to dwindle as, on the whole, its only the Queens who overwinter (they mate in the autumn to lay eggs in spring). Also its been a good summer this year, so I expect that the amount of bees around has been higher than in recent years, which may also explain the large number of dead bees lying around.
        Bees are fascinating creatures and its nice to see so much concern. Wasps, on the other hand, bleurgh!

  2. I was surprised to see so many bumble bees seemingly having died as they were feeding and pollinating. Not just one or two, but i’ve seen ten or more in the last few days. I noticed it because I thought it was unusual to see so many that appear to have simply expired.

  3. I saw a trailer this morning for a BBC programme on the current bee crisis, which is to be broadcast sometime soon. It is being presented by Bill Turnbull, one of the Breakfast presenters. He’s a bee-keeper in his spare time, so should know something about it.

    1. Thanks John – the programme is Horizon and is on tonight BBC2 at 9pm: http://www.bbc.co.uk/mediacentre/proginfo/2013/31/horizon-whats-killing-our-bees.html

      Should be interesting and perhaps give us some ideas on what to do locally / who to report the issue to.

      We’ve had lots more reports of dead bees over on our Facebook page. I hope to send the findings to DEFRA (and we’ll see what ideas are thrown up by tonight’s programme) – at least we will have registered the problem then.

  4. I have seen 3 dying on my patio I thought it was strange but I thought when a bee stung some one they died so never thought any more of it. I am from Hull

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