Does beekeeping harm our wild pollinators?


Cambridgeshire Beekeepers' Association

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05 Oct 2022


7:00 pm

Does beekeeping harm our wild pollinators?

We are delighted to welcome Tom Ings to talk to us about the competition that can occur between managed honey bees and wild pollinators.

Our pollinators are declining. This threatens the production of insect- pollinated crops that we know and love, such as apples, pears and strawberries. Honey bees are often used to compensate for the loss of wild insects, but they are actually less efficient at pollinating most of our food crops and can also create problems for wild bees. When flowers are scarce, high numbers of honey bees can outcompete them for the limited nectar and pollen, which can reduce their reproductive success. When visiting the same flowers, honey bees can also transmit diseases to wild bees.

Much of the UK is lacking floral diversity, and beekeeping in these areas could pose risks for wild pollinators. By making efforts to re-flower our gardens, urban green spaces and farmland we can help conserve pollinator biodiversity and reduce competition. Targeting beekeeping towards areas that are filled with flowers will reduce the risks further, making a brighter future for pollinator conservation and productive beekeeping here in Cambridgeshire.

Much of the research being presented was completed by Dr Olivia Norfolk, who sadly passed away earlier this year.


About the speaker

Dr Thomas Ings is an Associate Professor at Anglia Ruskin University whose research focusses primarily on pollinator community ecology and behaviour. Over the last few years Thomas has been conducting research on plant-pollinator networks, pollinator responses to global change, solitary bee nesting ecology and the impacts of anthropogenic noise on insect communication. He is currently working with Victoria Buckle (PhD student) to develop a project to investigate the impacts of beekeeping on wild pollinators with the aim of developing mitigation strategies to promote sustainable beekeeping. Prior to entering academia Thomas worked for CABI Bioscience investigating the impacts of agricultural management on invertebrate communities.

Does beekeeping harm our wild pollinators?
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