Archive for October, 2008




Wednesday, 1st April, 2009
Start time: 10.00 am

Conference Centre, Rothamsted Research, Harpenden, Hertfordshire, UK.

Update 17th Feb: Download full Programme and Registration form (Word document).


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“The history of all past society has consisted in the development of class antagonisms…the exploitation of one part of society by the other”. – Karl Marx and Frederick Engels, The Communist Manifesto. [Read full article]

ScienceDaily (25th October 2008 )

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A rare bumblebee has been officially recorded in Norfolk for the first time in more than four decades.

The red-tailed cuckoo bumblebee has been seen among a colony of more common red-tailed bumblebees on land leased from the Royal Estate at Sandringham.

Natural England has credited the return of the rarely seen bee to the restoration of heathland at its Dersingham Bog National Nature Reserve.

There are now hopes the bee will make a permanent return to the county.. [Read full article]

BBC News (21 October 2008 )

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The continuing decline in bees will destroy the British countryside as important iconic plants die without pollination, experts have warned.

Bumblebees, the wild cousin of the honey bee, are responsible for pollinating a range of British fruits and vegetables including raspberries, potatoes and tomatoes

They are also key to a number of rare flowers including fox gloves, honey suckle and a range of wild orchids that cannot be pollinated by other insects.

However bumblebees are in sharp decline. Of the 25 species found in the UK, three are nationally extinct and many more are seriously threatened.

Professor David Goulson, co-founder of The Bumblebee Conservation Trust, said many of the plants and flowers that are so distinctive to the British countryside rely on the bumble bee for pollination including lupins, heather and poppies.  [Read full article]


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English honey is unlikely to feature on Christmas menus this year as supplies run out.

The catastrophic decline in honey bee numbers has continued with populations down 30 per cent on last year.

Combined with another wet summer – which prevented the bees gathering pollen – it has resulted in a honey shortage.

Stuart Bailey, chairman of the UK’s biggest producer, Rowse Honey, said: “Supplies continue to dribble through and we might have enough for another six weeks or so but I expect it to be gone before Christmas.”  [Read full article]

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An extremely rare ant on the edge of extinction in mainland Britain is having its numbers replenished from a colony found on the Isles of Scilly.

There is thought to be only one nest of the red-barbed ant (Formica Rufibarbis) on Chobham Common in Surrey.

However, the species continues to thrive in St Martin’s.

The Zoological Society of London and Surrey Wildlife Trust collected newly mated queens from the island in the summer to safeguard the ant’s future..  [Read full article]

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The Soil Association has urged the government to ban pesticides linked to honeybee deaths around the world.

The chemicals are widely used in UK agriculture but have been banned as a precaution in four other European countries. Last week the Italian government issued an immediate suspension after it accepted that the pesticides were implicated in killing honeybees, joining France, Germany and Slovenia.

Peter Melchett, the Soil Association’s policy director, said: “It is typical of the lax approach to pesticide regulation in the UK that we look like being one of the last of the major farming countries in the EU to wake up to the threat to our honeybees.” [Full BBC article]

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