I would like to raise awareness about the effects that herbicides/pesticides on our local bees and other pollinators. It has been incredibly distressing to watch the recent death of my beautiful bees. The death of bees is not sudden but their struggle to survive lasts for approximately one week before the entire colony succumbs to the effects of the chemical poison. As a beekeeper it is quiet distressing to watch and hear your bees struggle to survive, to observe sister bees trying to tend to one another, and to hear the sound that the bees make when they have lost their queen.
As you may know, this year has been incredibly difficult for bees because of the poor nectar flow at the start of the season resulting in starvation, the extreme heat causing hive meltdown and subsequent pest invasion on weakened hives. I was hopeful that my hives would pull through winter with their little honey reserves and now sadly they have been exposed to chemical poisoning (pesticides). I think it is largely due to bees foraging further for their nectar and pollen sources. We must not forget that the bees are also competing with the birds for blossoms as well. This desperation for nectar has caused the bees to forage on anything – even weeds that are in flower.
I am unsure of what my bees foraged on and the testing of my dead bee and contaminated honey samples in Melbourne will amount to $1500.
Given my recent experience, I really want to encourage everyone to think about what they are using on their roses, weeds, sour sobs and consider an alternative way of managing these plants. Sour sobs yield important nectar for bees at a critical time of the year so why not enjoy the colour display in your garden or pull them out by hand and connect with the earth Please remember that just because the label on a product does NOT say ‘Safe for Bees’ does not mean the product is safe…please become familiar with the toxins that are hazardous to bees.
I am also aware that some Councils use Glyphosate 360 to spray weeds and I know that certain products that contain the deadly imidacloprid continue to be sold in our supermarkets and nurseries and are used by individuals unaware of the devastation that these can cause to honeybees AND native bees. I encourage all Councils to implement the eco-friendly steam weed treatment. Please note that I am NOT pointing the finger at anyone in particular. This is merely an attempt to gently raise awareness.