It’s not unusual to have an odd day or two of warm weather in late February, which can often bring out early insects. There are buff-tailed bumblebees and honeybees in the garden and, in the sand dunes down by the bay, a tortoiseshell butterfly was on the wing in early afternoon.
Bees and their demise have become a part of life in recent times, as the issue of neonicitinoid pesticide poisoning has gained more profile. My friend Rosemary has played a central role in the fight against this, not only locally, but also as part of a worldwide campaign to ban these most lethal of pesticides, which are almost certainly responsible for much of the demise of our wildlife in recent years. In an attempt to redress the balance, Rosemary and Palle turned a field behind their house into a wildflower meadow. Over a few years the meadow gradually changed into a riot of flowers in summer, attracting a myriad of pollinators. Hay was taken off at the right time in summer and in a traditional way, leaving seeds for winter birds. The whole enterprise was inspirational and showed what can be done with common sense and effort. Sadly in the end, their effort was to no avail, the poisons won out and the all the flowers died.
I call Rosemary. Yes, she has a couple bumblebees in the field today and butterflies too, but she’s more occupied with the campaign and making sure that the Select Committee taking place in Westminster at present, has sufficient information to persuade politicians to ban these insidious pesticides before it’s too late. Rachel Carson’s ‘Silent Spring’ could pale into insignificance if the pesticide industry wins out and these silent killers are allowed to persist.