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Plan to save bees a 'step forward' say conservationists

Conservationists say the Government's new strategy to help bees and other pollinating insects is a "step forward", conservationists said, but called for tougher action on pesticides.

Plan to save bees a 'step forward' say conservationists. Credit: Nick Ansell/PA Wire

Elizabeth Truss is launching the Bee and Pollinator Strategy, which aims to reverse declines in pollinating insects such as bees that contribute £430 million a year in pollinating crops, as she makes her first major speech since becoming environment secretary.

The Bee and Pollinator Strategy includes investment in scientific research to gather more information on the condition of bees and other insects and a "Bees Needs" website to give the public advice on helping bees in their local area.

Thousands of 'killer bees' attack woman

A swarm of bees. Credit: Creative Commons

A 71-year-old woman suffered around 1,000 stings in Southern California after being attacked by a swarm of 'killer' Africanised honey bees that covered her entire body.

So Cal Fire Battalion Chief Mark Williams says the woman was expected to recover after Thursday's attack in Palm Desert. He said five firefighters were also treated in hospital for stings.

Around 80,000 bees were disturbed by a workman, who was also stung, when he attempted to access an underground electrical vault. The bees then attacked the woman, who had just got out of her car nearby.

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Sticky situation as thieves steal bee hive

Thousands of bees live in a typical hive Credit: PA

Thieves have stolen a hive containing thousands of sleeping bees in Norwich.

The hive was stolen from a community garden between December 13 and 22 and contained bees hibernating for the winter. Hives are typically home to between 20,000 and 60,000 bees.

A Norfolk Police spokesman said: "It would have taken two people to move the structure."Police are keen to hear from anyone who may have witnessed the incident or has information concerning the whereabouts of the stolen hive."

Diesel pollution baffles honeybees

Diesel fumes change flower odours and could affect bee foraging Credit: REUTERS/Kimimasa Mayama

Exposure to pollution from diesel exhaust fumes can disrupt honeybees' ability to recognize the smells of flowers and could in future affect pollination and global food security, researchers said on Thursday.

In a study published in the Nature journal Scientific Reports, scientists from the University of Southampton found that the fumes change the profile of the floral odors that attract bees to forage from one flower to the next.

"Diesel exposure alters floral odours and it's a significant enough change in the chemistry to impact on the honeybee's ability to recognise that odour," said Dr Tracey Newman, a neuroscientist involved in the report.

EU Commission adopts pesticide ban to help bees

The EU Commission has adopted a controversial ban on the use of certain pesticides in an attempt to tackle the decline in bees, according to spokesman Koen Doens:

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EU to introduce ban on pesticides linked to bee deaths

A ban on pesticides feared to be killing bees is set to be introduced in "coming weeks" after a majority of EU governments backed a move fiercely resisted by the UK coalition.

Beekeepers say the ban will only have a marginal effect on honey bees and wild bees and fear it will lead to farmers using older, more damaging pesticides.

Pesticide ban will 'give bees breathing space'

Paul de Zylva, senior nature campaigner at Friends of the Earth, has said today's moves to introduce an EU ban on the use of pesticides scientifically linked to bee deaths is "great".

"It will give bees breathing space from years of being dosed up with these chemicals, which haven't been tested properly, particularly on wild bees".

Bee expert: EU pesticide ban vote result 'good news'

Dr Nigel Raine, a bee researcher at Royal Holloway, has welcomed the result of an EU vote to introduce a ban of three pesticides believed to be harmful to bees.

He told ITV News it was "good news" and when the ban comes into effect it will be "crucial" to monitor bee populations to make sure it is effective.

He added that "we need to think about what we're going to use instead".

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