This page contains a Flash digital edition of a book.
Around the Colony
Value of insect pollination, Northern Ireland support for bees, Bees inspire robot car, Olympic
honey, Varroa in New Zealand, Verges as bee habitat, Green biopesticide, Pollen collection,
Apis cerana in Australia, New bee book website, Colony performance
BEES AND BEEKEEPINGScientists in France and
Germany have estimated Northern Ireland Minister for Agriculture and Rural
that in 2005, insect Development, Michelle Gildernew, has pledged to draw up
pollinators, mostly bees, a strategy to rescue Northern Ireland’s vanishing bee
provided economic value populations. At the third European Conference of Apidology
totalling ¤153 billion in (EurBee3), she told delegates that it is only just being
terms of major food crops realised just how great is man’s reliance on bees. Their
worldwide. pollination activities support environmental biodiversity and
sustain a large number of agricultural crops. Bees are oneIn total, 9.5% of global
of the keystones of most of Ireland’s ecosystems throughfood production was reliant
their visits to wild flowers.on insects. Disappearance
of insect pollinators would Later in 2008, work will be started on a local Bee Health
translate into an estimated consumer surplus loss of Strategy to be developed in conjunction with the
¤190–310 billion. This is calculated as the reduction in beekeeping industry and designed to tackle a number of
consumer purchases with every 1% rise in product prices. important issues including training, research and Colony
There would be a ¤50 billion loss for both fruits and Collapse Disorder.
vegetables and the loss for edible oilseeds was estimated Dr Rob Paxton, from the School of Biological Sciences at
at ¤39 billion. Queen’s University Belfast, reminded delegates of the
The average value of crops dependent for their production importance of bee populations to food industries
on insect pollinators was much higher on average than worldwide. The loss of bee colonies, estimated by the
that for crops which were not insect pollinated. The higher Institute of Northern Ireland Beekeepers at 50% this year,
the dependence on insect pollinators, the higher the price is seriously threatening Ireland’s multi-million-pound apple
per metric tonne. sector. There are 100 species of bee living in Ireland andaround one-third of these are in serious decline.
With a complete loss of insect pollinators, the world would
no longer be able to produce sufficient fruits, vegetables
and stimulants (coffee, cocoa, etc) for current requirements. CONGRATULATIONS!
The effect would be particularly significant for net importers The following have all won Ms Alison Knox,
such as the European Union. a copy of Keeping Bees by Nottingham
It is recognised that there is likely to be a gradual decline Paul Peacock in our August Mr Jeffrey Herr, Kent
in pollinators rather than a complete loss and there is a competition. Mr Chris Wood, Arundel
need to confirm the few studies which have indicated a
linear relationship between pollinator density and Mr P Hewitt, West Yorks Our thanks to Octopus
production. Miss Lizzie Hecks, Somerset Publishing for the prizes.
Nissan’s BR23C prototype two-wheeled machine designed virtually to prevent collisions is At the 2008 Olympics,
claimed to have been inspired by a bee. Sensors on the machine detect incoming objects some gymnasts were
and enable the car to move out of the way, much in the same way as a bee will avoid spotted with honey prior to
almost every obstacle when it is flying. their events. They were
A front laser rangefinder scans a 180-degree field and total coverage could be provided by reportedly using it on their
adding a rear sensor. Using its compound eyes, a bee can scan through 300 degrees. fingertips to provide a
Nissan does not plan to put the BR23C into production but it could use the technology in better grip in ‘hanging’
cars such as its Pivo 2 which is able to manoeuvre quickly and react to changing events, such as the parallel
situations. bars and the rings.
Page 28 Bee Craft Digital November 2008
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