MITFORD WI was most fortunate in its choice of speaker for the October meeting.
Mr Brian Ripley, who is President of the British Beekeepers Association, came to talk on the subject of Bees Under Threat.
Not only did we learn of the lethal damage inflicted by the varroa mite, but also of the need for more people to become involved in beekeeping. We need more colonies to replace the bees which succumb to the varroa, thus ensuring that we are able to guarantee the pollination of our trees, crops and flowers.
A surprising fact to some of us was that bees need man in order to survive and even with help, in one winter up to half of the bees will not survive.
Mr Ripley provided us with many new facts, such as that one in three mouthfuls of food depend on the bee and subsequent pollination of crops for food production. Also that last winter, the bees had been extra careful to glue up their hives to prevent draughts getting in, and that this year they are working even harder to do the same.
Does this mean that the bees know something that we don’t and that we are in for an even harder winter? A chilling thought, but an informative end to a most fascinating evening.