The massive decline in the UK’s honeybee population has forced the hand of a Wimbledon couple in an attempt to save the humble insect.
Karine Fischer, 34, and husband Arnaud Robert, 37, were aware of the dangers facing bees, but it wasn’t until last year’s Epilobee study results were published that they decided to act.
They have launched a crowdfunder to raise £2,300 for two beehives in Morden Park but have not yet raised their total goal, with one day to go they have secured only £740 for the project.
“We are very excited about this project as we want to get an active role in environment protection,” said Mrs Fischer.
While Mrs Fischer believes that raising awareness to the situation is the main issue of the BEES NEED YOU project, she also believes that it will benefit the areas surrounding the beehives.
“The site where we want to locate the hives is surrounded by allotments and private gardens,” she said.
“The bees from our colonies will help neighbouring gardeners have better crops.”
The study revealed that the UK is behind only Belgium in the rate of colony losses in winter and behind France in summer.
Reasons for the decline are unspecified, but bees are affected by many factors, such as pesticides, diseases, poor weather conditions and monoculture of crops.
The honeybee is the world’s most important pollinator of food crops and there could be long-term consequences to the eco system if the current trend is not reversed.
Losses would be much greater without beekeepers and for that reason Mrs Fischer believes the work she does is important.
Along with her husband, they volunteer in a Wimbledon beekeeping association and thinks there would be benefits if more people did the same.
Mrs Fischer is however, aware that some people feel uncomfortable around bees.
“When you start talking about bees and hives, many people tend to get a bit nervous as bees are often associated with stings,” she said.
“The first thing a beekeeper needs to do is explain the ‘bee mindset’. Bees only sting to protect their colonies or if they feel threatened.”
While they do aim to raise awareness with the project, there is an added bonus of the proposed beehives – locally produced honey.
“We strongly support use of local food products as we think they taste better than the ones you can get in the supermarket,” she said.
“We would be happy if people could have the chance to enjoy locally produced honey. Quality honey is very healthy and so tasty.”
The honey they will produce from the hives is the reward for the pledge.
Their crowdfunder ends tomorrow and they have so far only raised 28% of their target.
Picture courtesy of Cath in Dorset, with thanks