Death knell sounds for Europe's beekeepers
Mon Apr 27, 2009 10:09am
* 30 percent of hives died in 2008
* More than a third of crops rely on bee pollination
By Pete Harrison
BRUSSELS, April 27 (Reuters) - Europe's beekeeping industry could be wiped out in less than a decade as bees fall victim to disease, insecticides and intensive farming, international beekeeping body Apimondia said on Monday.
... but if you go out for a walk today, you will be lucky to spot one or two. Patrick Barkham, who has been a passionate lepidopterist since he was eight years old, laments the dramatic decline of these most extraordinary insects – and wonders if there is any chance of saving them.
Fortunately there are some positives in the Loire, for example the biodiversity programme in the Saumur-Champigny appellation, where the producers have worked together to provide habitats – hedges, woods and rough pasture – to encourage insects and animals.
What is needed is a programme to encourage other Loire appellations to take this on and where necessary to provide the financial and logistical support to make this feasible. After all there are few appellations outside the Central Vineyards, particularly Pouilly-Fumé and Sancerre, that sell as well as Saumur-Champigny.
One of the significant objectives of the biodiversity scheme is to encourage predatory insects that prey on insects that are pests or threats to the vine, so although there may well some altruism here there are also solid commercial reasons for the Saumur-Champigny producers to work together.