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Apple trees need bees!

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If there are no pollinating insects – and in particular bees – there are no apples; well there is no anything very much. So why is our government insisting on rejecting the science behind the ban on neonicotinoids insecticides? The answer is the massive power of the agri-business lobby in both houses of parliament.

All of our native bee species (which are our fruit pollinators – along with hover flies) have suffered steep declines in population and two have recently become extinct. The EU has imposed a two year ban on the use of some neonicotinoids so that the collapse in bee species can be examined.

Large scale arable producers (particularly of oil seed rape) say that not using neonicotinoids will cost them 5% of their crop. Small price to pay in my view: these guys are already receiving £1000 for every 10 acres they have in production from the British taxpayer (courtesy of the EU CAP).

Virtually every apple grower in Somerset has bee hives in their orchards and we do at Somerset Cider Vinegar (and sell the honey at local markets). There is no point in us trying to support bee populations if chemical companies like Syngenta and Bayer are going to contest the ban in the European courts supported by the government and (very disappointingly) the NFU.



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