How doth the little busy bee …


Honey is one of my favourite foods.

In forty + years of life some of my most special memories are related to honey.

The first story I remember reading too myself was a story about Pooh bear hanging onto a balloon (pretending to be a  cloud) so he could steal honey from a bees nest high in a tree . The story was one of a number of pooh stories in a  hardback book with a red cover that had wonderful but very simple line drawings.  I remember laughing so hard that it made me cry –  if  I re-read the story it still makes me laugh.

As a teenager on a climbing expedition to the Isle of Arran I fell in love with a farmers daughter as our eyes met over a huge glass bowl filled with clear honey. My face was as red as beetroot, not because I was shy, but because I had dropped the little spoon, used to scoop honey onto breakfast  drop scones,  and it had promptly sunk to the bottom of the bowl.

In my early twenties, during a glorious summer, a rather eccentric sandal wearing older man taught me the mysteries of beekeeping. I will never forget the mixture of adrenaline, hot sunshine, and  the smell of honey mixed with the earnest buzzing of thousands of bees as I opened my first hive. 

In my thirties I became the proud owner of my very own bee hives. They were functioning hives bought from a retired  consultant surgeon in Callendar who was getting too old too manage the dozen or more hives he kept in his garden (it was a big garden) The three hives were packed into a friends estate car for the thirty mile drive to Alloa, filling it with the smell of heather and honey. My friend says that  I sat the with a very self satisfied, if not smug, smile on  my face for the whole journey. On that journey I finally became a beekeeper – I had arrived.

In my forties my daughter and I challenged each other too recite a poem from memory – we chose the same one ‘ How doth the little busy bee..

All special memories for me

Why am I sharing them with you – when it has nothing to do with Support from the Start – because the world will be a very poor place without bees and they need your support. You have probably heard of the collapse in the number of bees along with dire warnings about what would happen if the planets most active pollinator’s disappear altogether. Well a scandal is developing in the USA around what was and wasnt known about an insectiside called Clothianidin.  and its impact on bees. This insecticide is used in the UK

The following motion to parliament has the backing of a cross party group of members of parliament and an international online petition can be accessed here




Caton, Martin

That this House is gravely concerned by the contents of a recently leaked memo from the the US Environment Protection Agency whose scientists warn that bees and other non-target invertebrates are at risk from a new neonicotinoid pesticide and that tests in the US approval process are insufficient to detect the environmental damage caused; this House acknowledges that these findings reflect the conclusions of a 2009 `Buglife’ report that identified similar inadequacies in the European approval regime with regard to neonicotinoids; this House notes reports that bee populations have soared in four European countries that have banned these chemicals; and  this House therefore calls on the Government to act urgently to suspend all existing approvals for products containing neonicotinoids and fipronil pending more exhaustive tests and the development of international methodologies for properly assessing the long-term effects of systemic pesticides on invertebrate populations.

this is the insecticide used in the UK which is at the centre of a scandal in the USA as to whether Government scientist knew about its impact on bees when it was liscensed for use.
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