Monday 10 December 2018

Native bees being wiped out by pesticides

The new set of honeycomb-shaped stamps celebrating Ireland’s native bees are being released by An Post
The new set of honeycomb-shaped stamps celebrating Ireland’s native bees are being released by An Post
Ian Begley

Ian Begley

Farmers could unknowingly be killing tens of thousands of bees by spraying pesticides, according to the Federation of Irish Beekeepers' Associations (FIBA).

Beekeepers across the country are seeing detrimental damage done to their hives due to poisonous toxins used to repel insects from crops.

Tom Shaw, secretary of the FIBA, told the Irish Independent that most farmers are very diligent towards their local bee population.

However, he believes that even a small number of people spraying pesticides run the risk of wiping out entire hives in a very short space of time.

"Many farmers tell their local beekeepers when they're spraying pesticides to give them time to house their bees for the day.

"However, the ones that don't tell us, often in farms two or three fields over, are often the ones creating a problem."

An Post’s Head of Procurement Paula Butler with the new bee colony taking up residence at Dublin’s General Post Office
An Post’s Head of Procurement Paula Butler with the new bee colony taking up residence at Dublin’s General Post Office

A Dublin beekeeper who did not want to be named had 10 of his hives severely damaged or wiped out recently. "You could have a hive with 50,000 bees and within a day you could be down to 5,000.

"Farmers are usually extremely good, but we would advise them to spray their pesticides very early in the morning or late in the evening to help prevent our bees from dying," the beekeeper said.

Meanwhile, a new set of honeycomb shaped stamps are being introduced to celebrate Ireland's native bees. Four new €1 stamps designed by Dublin's Design HQ, are based on illustrations by botanical artist Shevaun Doherty,.

They pay tribute to the hardest working insects on the planet and in particular Ireland's native bumble bee, heather bee and rarer tawny mining and ashy mining bees.

Irish Independent

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