Books Every Fresher Should Read
Arts
23 views
23 views

Books Every Fresher Should Read

Anonymous - September 19, 2018
France in Fine Fettle
Sports
42 views
42 views

France in Fine Fettle

Anonymous - September 17, 2018
Dive into Brightonian Culture
Arts
43 views
43 views

Dive into Brightonian Culture

Anonymous - September 17, 2018
Oh, baby, baby, did you see Britney at Pride?
Arts
73 views
73 views

Oh, baby, baby, did you see Britney at Pride?

Anastasia Konstantinidou - September 15, 2018
202 Views

Bees dying at alarming rate: food security issues

Regarded as heaven-sent totems of hard-work and obedience in Greece and royal symbols for lower Egypt, honeybees’ humble, hard-working image has been well-documented in folk songs and fairy tales. At the same time, Winnie the Pooh’s love-hate relationship with bees mirrors human beings’ friend-foe interaction with them.

Many people’s first encounters with bees are negative, but coffee-loving human beings are in no way less dependent on bees than Pooh, the iconic British honey-loving bear. As minute and insignificant our bees seem, they are the main pollinators controlling the harvest of coffee and over other 70 crop species out of the 100 which provides 90% of world’s food.

Once referred to as the ‘most invaluable species on the planet’ by Earthwatch, bees are currently in rapid decline due to habitat loss, disease and over-exposure to neonicotinoid pesticides. What are the solutions to UK’s food security catastrophe? How should we live in harmony with bees?

Almost half the world’s produce, equivalent to over 2 billion tonnes, ends up as waste every year, while 842 million people live in hunger. Yesterday (29 October), Brighton relived the Biblical miracle Feeding of the 5000 during lunchtime at The Level, as 5000 lunches made out of food that would otherwise have been wasted were served, free of charge.

Organised by a group of local organisations including Brighton & Hove Food Partnership, Brighton & Hove City Council, Real Junk Food Project, University of Sussex Students’ Union and University of Brighton with guidance and support from Feedback, the surplus celebration illuminates regional food waste issues.

“If food waste was a country it would be the third largest carbon emitter after China and the US, “ says Caroline Lucas, Green party MP for Brighton Pavilion, giving her support to the event.

While most campaigners’ speeches focused on cutting down food waste at a community level, a bee activist group diverted public attention to what the government can do to protect bees, which were killed at an alarming rate of 37 million a month on average last year.

At the event, a bee activist told the Guardian: “Damaging bees’ health and separating their colonies intentionally through using neonicotinoids is no different from trampling on bees’ dignity”.

Referring to a research published in University of Reading earlier this year revealing that bees contribute £651 million to the UK economy a year, £150 million more than the Royal Family brings in through tourism, he shed tears for the lack of conscience in farmers who use pesticides merely to maximize yields for short-term economic incentives.

Vegan Group also expressed concern over large commercial operations replacing honey – bees’ primary source of nutrients – with a cheap sugar substitute for the bees to get through winter. Some beekeepers even burn the beehives, killing all the bees inside, before winter to reduce cost. Population decline and colony collapse of bees clearly indicates an unsustainability towards future crop yield.

When the controversial neonicotinoid ban was temporarily lifted in some parts of the country July this year, Friends of the Earth campaigner Paul de Zylva argued: “It’s scandalous that the government has caved in to pressure and given permission for some farmers to use banned pesticides”.

Describing a future without bees, Nicholas Balfour, PhD student of the Laboratory of Apiculture and Social Insects (LASI) at University of Sussex said: “A third of everything we eat is pollinated by bees. Although other social insects like flies can pollinate, they are not attracted to the same flowers as bees. This loss of biodiversity would reduce the variety of food we can choose from”.

Dr Mike Garratt from the University of Reading added that focusing only on wild bees that had financial value today for agriculture would be a mistake. “Too much focus on pollination may lead to neglect of rarer species that could be important in the future,” he explained. This further justifies why money should not be the only concern for food producers.

To address food security issues stemming from bees population decline, Professor Francis Ratnieks and his team from the University of Sussex launched a research on effects of honey bees on apple pollination. They decode a waggle dance – the language through which honey bees communicate.

“By analysing the speed and angle of the waggle dances, we can determine where the flowers are”, said Ratnieks.

His findings revealing that caffeine boosted bees’ memories of the location of a flower were further developed by Dr. Margaret Couvillon at the University of Sussex.

Her team found that caffeine attracted bees, causing them to behave as though the nectar source was of higher quality and richer in sugar. Bees also did their waggle dance – a behaviour to recruit other bees – four times more often.

“These new findings are a reminder that, while mutually dependent, the interests of plants and pollinators don’t always align,” says Couvillon. Published in the Cell Press journal Current Biology on 15 October, these findings provide a potential solution for the aggravating food security crisis.

By adding lacing nectar with caffeine, pollination can be manipulated, for example, by a farmer to increase yields of a particular crop. As bees are less likely to find other sources than caffeinated flowers to pollinate, this would help us manage and adjust landscapes in order to maximize crop productivity.

According to statistics from United Nations’ in 2015, world produces enough food for everyone, yet poor distribution implies that 805 million people go hungry. When will our world learn the importance of cutting down food waste? Will this research spark discussion on unequal food distribution around the world?

Bee activists strongly urge the government to take action on bee conservation on a national level and enforce the ban on pesticides. It is hoped that this study will shed light on global hunger issues and offer a honey-flavoured solution to the world.

Dorothy Yim, Science Editor

Get the best viral stories straight into your inbox!

Don't worry, we don't spam
Books Every Fresher Should Read
Arts
23 views
23 views

Books Every Fresher Should Read

Anonymous - September 19, 2018
France in Fine Fettle
Sports
42 views
42 views

France in Fine Fettle

Anonymous - September 17, 2018
Dive into Brightonian Culture
Arts
43 views
43 views

Dive into Brightonian Culture

Anonymous - September 17, 2018
Oh, baby, baby, did you see Britney at Pride?
Arts
73 views
73 views

Oh, baby, baby, did you see Britney at Pride?

Anastasia Konstantinidou - September 15, 2018

Leave a Reply

Join the Badger Team

Apply today!

Latest Posts

Books Every Fresher Should Read
Arts
23 views
Arts
23 views

Books Every Fresher Should Read

Anonymous - September 19, 2018

Starting university comes with both exciting but potentially daunting changes, with both moving away from home and studying at degree level posing to be two new challenges.…

INCREDIBLES 2: The Sequel with a Feminist Twist
Film & Theatre
36 views
Film & Theatre
36 views

INCREDIBLES 2: The Sequel with a Feminist Twist

Anonymous - September 18, 2018

One key film in the development of anyone who grew up in the early 2000s was The Incredibles (2004). It’s comedy, vibrancy, and general sense of fun…

France in Fine Fettle
Sports
42 views
Sports
42 views

France in Fine Fettle

Anonymous - September 17, 2018

Prior to the start of the quadrennial tournament this summer, football fans across the world grew sceptical over Russia’s credentials and ability to host the most prestigious…

Dive into Brightonian Culture
Arts
43 views
Arts
43 views

Dive into Brightonian Culture

Anonymous - September 17, 2018

Boredom is impossible when you throw yourself into everything this weird and wonderful city has to offer. The specific and unique cultural wonders of Brighton are indeed…

Oh, baby, baby, did you see Britney at Pride?
Arts
73 views
Arts
73 views

Oh, baby, baby, did you see Britney at Pride?

Anastasia Konstantinidou - September 15, 2018

During this year’s Pride Festival, Brighton had the honour of welcoming international pop star and voice of the early 2000s, Britney Spears, to the main stage. Undoubtedly,…

Union obliterates the debate – unwritten requirement used to shut down free speech debate
Campus News
1136 views1
Campus News
1136 views1

Union obliterates the debate – unwritten requirement used to shut down free speech debate

Jordan Wright - April 27, 2018

Student society Liberate the Debate’s most recent event was cancelled over a lack of compliance with the Students' Union's (USSU) requirement for a neutral chair - a…

Students’ Union Apologises for ‘Sexist’ Beermats
News
7 views
News
7 views

Students’ Union Apologises for ‘Sexist’ Beermats

Jessica Hubbard - September 20, 2018

The University of Sussex Students' Union (USSU) has apologised after 'sexist' beermats were found in 'Dig in' Boxes in Freshers' Welcome Bags. The beermats were provided by…

Sussex Lecturer Accused of Making Transphobic Comments Ahead of Brighton Trans Pride 2018
News
75 views1
News
75 views1

Sussex Lecturer Accused of Making Transphobic Comments Ahead of Brighton Trans Pride 2018

Jessica Hubbard - September 15, 2018

Kathleen Stock, a philosophy Lecturer at Sussex, was accused of making transphobic comments in July 2018. This followed various interviews and blog posts by Stock. Stock told…

Welcome 2018 Freshers!
Campus News
79 views
Campus News
79 views

Welcome 2018 Freshers!

Billie-Jean Johnson - September 15, 2018

Ah, Freshers. You’ve no idea the amazing year you have ahead of you! As you read this now, you’ve probably met your flatmates and maybe even met…

A conversation with Kathleen Stock on Transgender Identity
Opinion
72 views
Opinion
72 views

A conversation with Kathleen Stock on Transgender Identity

Jessica Hubbard - September 15, 2018

Kathleen Stock, a philosophy lecturer at Sussex University, met with controversy after criticising the government’s reform of the Gender Recognition Act (2004). The amendment would ‘de-medicalise’ the…

Verve Couture – Musicality, kitsch & ignition: the beginning of a series
Arts
393 views
Arts
393 views

Verve Couture – Musicality, kitsch & ignition: the beginning of a series

Ricardo Reverón Blanco - June 17, 2018

Pictured: Zac Black At Proud Cabaret audiences were spellbound as if at night at the circus, yet this was not like Angela Carter’s magical realist novel; Verve…

Fleabag on stage at The Old Market – review
Arts
394 views
Arts
394 views

Fleabag on stage at The Old Market – review

Florence Dutton - June 11, 2018

[caption id="attachment_35513" align="alignnone" width="2400"] Fleabag at Soho Theatre[/caption] Last Monday at 8pm at Brighton’s The Old Market, I sat myself down in my theatre seat eagerly awaiting…

Fleabag preview
Arts
372 views
Arts
372 views

Fleabag preview

Florence Dutton - June 2, 2018

[caption id="attachment_35513" align="alignnone" width="2400"] Fleabag at Soho Theatre[/caption] Following the mass success of the Bafta award-winning BBC Series, DryWrite and Soho Theatre are about to hit the…

Brighton Festival: Ezra Furman at the Dome
Arts
431 views
Arts
431 views

Brighton Festival: Ezra Furman at the Dome

Georgia Grace - June 1, 2018

Having completed my final semester of university with modules on punk history and queer arts, it was fitting that I rounded off my end-of-assessment celebrations by attending…

Arts
449 views

The Tempest review

Georgia Grace - May 30, 2018

As the sun begins to set over Hove Green, tinnies of Red Stripe are cracked open, tartan blankets are strewn, and families tuck into their picnic hampers.…

A Glass Half Empty review
Arts
390 views
Arts
390 views

A Glass Half Empty review

Georgia Grace - May 27, 2018

For those of us coming to the end of another year of university study, the prospect of careers, marriages and babies may seem a long way off.…

DollyWould at The Old Market review
Arts
364 views
Arts
364 views

DollyWould at The Old Market review

Alex Hutson - May 27, 2018

Sh!t Theatre’s DollyWould is a hilarious, thoughtful and experimental performance piece. The award winning show has the Sh!t Theatre duo integrating comedy, storytelling, personal experience and music.…

UCU Launch Petition to End the ‘Hostile Environment’ at Sussex
Campus News
553 views
Campus News
553 views

UCU Launch Petition to End the ‘Hostile Environment’ at Sussex

Billie-Jean Johnson - May 26, 2018

The Sussex branch of the University and College Union (UCU) has launched a petition calling for Vice-Chancellor Adam Tickell to end the 'hostile environment' at Sussex. The…

Arts
313 views

Shakespeare in the sun – The Tempest preview

Georgia Grace - May 24, 2018

In a world of dystopian King Lears and female Hamlets, Shakespeare’s classics are constantly being reimagined for the modern day. There’s something oddly refreshing then about the…

Review: Nick Cave Double Bill at The Old Market (TOM’s Film Club)
Arts
917 views
Arts
917 views

Review: Nick Cave Double Bill at The Old Market (TOM’s Film Club)

Sophie Coppenhall - May 23, 2018

What a phenomenal contrast these two films present when watched side-by-side. In essence, together they are capable of tracing inner and outer metamorphoses of their subjects. The…

Dollywould at The Old Market preview
Arts
375 views
Arts
375 views

Dollywould at The Old Market preview

Alex Hutson - May 22, 2018

From the 22nd May - 25th May 2018 DollyWould will be showing at The Old Market. An exciting new show, presented by Sh!t Theatre, who won the…