Talking bees with Miss Betty Bee
Miss Betty Bee, our current reigning Miss Pinup UK Runner Up talks to us about the importance of the EU ban on neonicotinoids:
Last month the EU passed a complete ban on neonicotinoids, now to most that probably doesn’t mean much- it may not even sound like English- but to beekeepers like myself it means the world. It big news in the beekeeping world but what even are neonicotinoids?
Neonicotinoids are nasty insecticides, they’re sprayed onto crops and many agricultural seeds are coated with them before planting. They work their way throughout the entire plant, the stem, leaves, flowers and therefore into the pollen. Their aim is to destroy pests but they don’t discriminate and affect all insects. When the bees consume this contaminated pollen it can cause damage to their nervous system, meaning they struggling with navigating, feeding and reproducing. Neonicotinoids have even been possibly connected to the loss of thousands of bee colonies, known as colony collapse disorder, across Europe. It even ends up in honey!
This all means the ban is great news; it’s highlighted that governments need to care about our bees and has also educated the public in their plight. Without them our economy would suffer and the countryside would never be the same again. Last year at the Miss Pinup UK Finals I hoped to get people buzzing about our bees and their importance, most people see them as being annoying unwanted picnic guests, but they do so much for our environment and economy, plus up close they’re quite cute and fluffy!
I’m a beekeeper who wears pretty dresses and dreams of one day having hundreds of beehives. I started keeping bees about 5 years ago, I love my girls (yes a hive is predominately female) and enjoy supplying the people of Kent local honey. Beekeeping was close to becoming a dying art but has had a revival in the last few years, Miss Pinup UK was a brilliant platform to share what beekeeping means to me and gave me the confidence to share my world with others. It’s even given me the confidence to enter my honey into local and county shows and given me the boost I needed to sit my bee exams this summer (yes bee exams are a real thing!).
Since then I’ve also taken to promoting the plight of our bumblebees- we have 25 species in the UK, some of which we are scarily close to losing. The Bumblebee Conservation Trust have set up projects, such as my local “Making a Buzz for the Coast”, and are hoping to preserve habitat and increase numbers of some of these rare species.
The ban on neonicotinoids means not only our bees but also our butterflies and other insects are safe, neonicotinoids also seep into our soil and waterways so subsequently our fish and birds are now protected too- they all have a fighting chance in surviving in the modern world.
It also means that beekeepers have one less thing to worry about, bees are wild insects and beekeepers can look after them but we can’t protect them from everything, hopefully this news means beekeepers and their bees have a bright future. I hope it’s a ban that the UK will still back once we leave the EU.
Words: Miss Betty Bee