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Action needed on bee decline

Anyone driving through the Mountains of Mourne could be forgiven if they take time to admire the apparently beautiful surroundings. However, all is not well in this wild and beautiful environment.

For the last six years in succession, beekeepers in this area have failed to harvest any meaningful honey crop.

In fact, in a number of these years many hives have faced starvation and even death- all this when environmental management plans have been in place.

Anecdotal evidence indicates that in previous years (i.e. the 20th century), bees and beekeepers got honey nine years out of 10 and Bell heather honey from this source won the World Cup on several occasions.

Now the exact opposite is the case.

Bees are indicators of the sustainability of our environment and a gauge to how other organisms are coping with their current circumstances.

It is obvious bees are now no longer able to forage and gather sufficient food to ensure their survival.

The lesson is here for all to heed. Unless serious, co-ordinated action is taken to find the reasons for this decline, the ecological heritage of the Mournes will be lost forever.

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