20 January, 2022

Air pollution reduces ability for butterflies and bees to pollinate flowers and crops, study finds



I come from a famous steel town in Scotland; which was until the 1980’s semi rural with farms and semi industrial. We were famous for our steel industry, until Margaret Thatcher shut them down in the early 80’s causing massive unemployment; and there was obviously pollution then. But there was an abundant wildlife and insects. People also grew flowers in their gardens too; including my family. Children used jam jars to catch bees and butterflies in their gardens too. In the background the steel works ran for miles, as Scotland was a major steel producer for the entire world. Remember the British Isles is a small place too; but abundant in nature and countryside, including bees. 

We had agricultural farms and pigs and cows in the area that I come from too. It was a delight to ramble in the countryside, the locals always enjoyed a walk in the lush green pastures on the edge of the River Clyde. No one mentioned anything like no bees or wasps; nature was in full swing amid the steel works just a few miles from the farms and pastures. There was housing in between the farmland and the steel works too. Now I have no idea if there are still working farms there. I would have to ask friends or relatives over there to know for sure. But you need flowers and trees or shrubs that will attract the bees, so unless people are actually growing these things then the bees and butterflies will go elsewhere.

Australia has a little  heavy industry and a lot of light industry these days in most cities and towns and there doesn’t seem to be any shortage of bees from what I know. Currently I have an uninvited  bee colony in my back yard this summer making honey, and I have not seen so many since the late 90’s, when we had to call in an apiarist to remove a massive amount of bees that decided to cling to my children’s swing set one summer evening. I do know there are hobby bee keepers around town over the past few years too. Not my idea of fun, lol. 

I have an ornamental plumb tree in my front yard, that should not bear fruit at all, yet every summer there are little plumbs on it. Neighbourhood possums are also feeding on the plumbs; so it is getting pollenated. The tree is twenty five years old and has never; not had fruit on it thanks to the bees. My box elder is swarming with bees ever springtime too.  The bees are working on it for at least a couple of weeks easily and I have to be vigilant so that none of us get stung or my dog getting stung as the tree is partially covering my washing line.

 So it is hard to avoid the bees come springtime. Bees tend to be all year round in my yard; given that I have flowers, and like most Australian suburbs, my neighbourhood has plenty native trees and shrubs that bloom in their seasons; and neighbouring fruit trees and flowers. Canberra is only a light industry and public servants city slap bang in the bush. There is definitely no shortage of bees, dragonflies and  lady bugs around us. Even if you are working in one of the industrial areas like Fyshwick there are green belts with flowering weeds like dandelion and wild native flowering plants that attract bees and butterflies.

Christmas beetles are not so common, but that all depends on what the weather is like each summer. Two things that could upset the bees and insects would be pesticides and electrical frequencies that are distressing to some insects, and wildlife. Then the lack of natural animal fertiliser which disrupts the balance of nature. Chemicals fertilisers and glyphosate’s don’t belong in agriculture,  but how does a farmer get round about the problem of never ending weeds and get full use out of his land? They still need to use something to kill weeds and enrich the soil. 

I don’t think there is an easy solution to this; where there may be a lack of bees and butterflies; but part of the answer could be going back to basics and reintroduced traditional fertiliser and that helps the soils and crops; and improving our health. Humans and animals  are also  not getting the right nutrients from our food since chemicals were introduced to agriculture and genetically engineered crops. 

But to address the bee and butterflies issue people need to help them out by planting  flowers in season and try to grow flowers that don’t use too much water; or make you a slave to the garden. Keep it simple, Roses, daisies, agapanthus, even good old osteospermum daisies from Bunnings. Some native plants like Correa, Callistemon or Grevellea and find a water friendly balance. Time to get the gardening books out and create a friendly garden for nature to do it’s thing. Oh; and use chook poo and natural fertiliser to improve the earth and produce better plants, flowers and edible crops. 

https://bestinau.net/why-do-you-see-a-burst-of-butterflies-canberra-times/amp 29 January 2022, more butterflies, of course there are more because there has been plenty rain to generate growth and  ire food for them. It’s the cycle of nature, which has cycles within cycles. 

Bees in my back yard that have taken over a possum house all summer long. I can smell the honey they are making when up close to the possum houses ( Possum Hotel). Click on the photos to enlarge. I have no intentions of going near them either 🤣🤣

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