Thursday, 10 June 2010

Update & links 10-6-10

Hi & and Welcome to the Safe Land for Bees blogsite, SLFB is a community group, based in Bristol, creating a network of land where bees can thrive.

Go to the Who we are page to get the essence of our approach. Also try the update for 11th April Public Event to get a report and lots of lovely pictures;

The first page to this site is the article that was published in The Spark magazine, November 2008, This is the most updated version we currently have of Barrie Trower's speech. It's not the same version as Barrie gave on 11th April, which I know you are waiting eagerly for, that will follow by September. But it does have  information about the damage that is caused to bees and their natural communication system by microwave radiation, coming from mobile phones, masts, WiFi and other microwave comunication systems. For a full, written report of Barrie's speech, Barrie Himself is writing that within 4 weeks. (i.e. we are looking forward to it by September 2008.)

We are linked to:  The Global Bee Project, The Project designs and delivers a range of activities to educate and empower individuals to protect bee diversity, as Bee Guardians.  On the web their address is  

                              Yatton Area Bee Project.  Yabeep aims to use a sustainable approach to protect and increase the local, natural bee population. Yabeep have stressed to us that they are a North Somerset organisation and not looking for members from Bristol or further afield. Their web address is:

Thursday, 27 May 2010

'British Bees - Fuddled'

Below is a copy of the article 'British Bees - Fuddled' by Sami Chugg, which was published in 'The Spark' magazine in November 2008. Bear in mind this article was printed in 2008, so the telephone numbers and email addresses may no longer be current.


Last issue we reported on Alison Benjamin and Brian McCallum's book: A World Without Bees, in which the authors claim that pesticide use and industrial bee-keeping practises are driving down bee numbers and contributing to Colony Collapse Disorder (where worker bees abruptly disappear from their hive). CCD is hugely worrying because of the honey bee's vital role within our eco-system. Human survival, let alone thriving, depends on the pollination of crops. One third of our food crops are pollinated by bees, and with other pollinating insects also declining, we cannot afford to take our bees for granted. A groundswell of public concern over the issue (which culminated in an online petition to the government) met with this response from DEFRA: "The very limited number of cases of high losses for which there is no ready explanation is being investigated in depth by the National Bee Unit and bee inspectors…" It went on to say that "[research] suggests that these losses are primarily due to Varroa [a parasitic mite] and inappropriate control."

Another possible explanation touted recently is that microwave radiation from mobile phones, WiFi, and other microwave transmitters could be interfering with the bees' natural navigation systems. This possibility has been discredited in the national press, but one radiation expert I've spoken to recently believes that the relevant information was not presented in the right context. In short, a breakdown of communication has resulted in the microwave theory being dismissed before it has been properly explored.

On August 9 this year I attended a series of talks in Glastonbury about the bee crisis. One of the speakers was Barrie Trower, scientific advisor to the Radiation Research Trust (UK) and Electrosensitivity (UK). Barrie gives his time for free to raise awareness of microwaves and their effects on human health and animals. He cited an impressive list of research papers, including one by the US government and the microwave industry itself, which showed clearly that microwaves do affect the immune systems of humans and animals, including bees. Bees are affected particularly strongly because of the nature of their communication and navigation systems.

The bee dance
Bees have magnetic materials in their heads, thoraxes and abdomens and use the Earth's magnetic field to navigate. The magnetic material on their bodies can be re-magnetised by a stronger magnetic field, and since magnetic field levels from transmitters are roughly 640 times greater than that of the bees' most sensitive level, it's not hard to see the potential risk.

When bees return to their hive with nectar and pollen, they perform a 'waggle dance' to give their hive information about where the nectar is, how far away it is, and the direction in which other bees need to fly in. This dance creates a series of vibrations that are felt throughout the hive. The frequency that the bees resonate to is 200-300 Hz (vibrations/second). This is identical to some pulsing frequencies used by mobile phone transmitters; therefore hives near transmitters may be vibrating day and night and TETRA transmitters have a range of 30 miles.

Barrie believes that what is happening to bees is also happening to other living things. He has a plethora of research on butterflies, trees, plants, migratory birds, ants, cattle and whales and many other forms of wildlife. The common denominators are: all have suffered from the installation of nearby microwave transmitters, and they all either use the Earth's magnetic field for navigation, or are exposed to ground currents (or both). Barrie says he can no longer find a trouble-free country where mobile phones, WiFi, TETRA, blue-tooth etc are being used. (For research details, you can google Barrie Trower or visit

So, what is the way forward? Mobile phone frequencies could be changed, but that would mean going back within the radio band and out of the microwave band altogether. This would protect the bees, yet the mobile phone industry is making so much money, perhaps billions a day, that there is likely to be stiff opposition to this suggestion.

The way that we keep bees also needs to change. Currently bees are kept are moved around the country to pollinate different crops, which are in turn treated with chemicals and pesticides. This completely disrupts their natural way of living and reduces their resistance to disease and pollution, including microwave pollution. Some conservationists have suggested creating managed "safe zones" for bees, but as Patrick Moulsdale points out, these would have to cover large areas, as bees can travel as far as 10km from their hives. Patrick was also at the Glastonbury conference and can be contacted for information on sustainable beekeeping (see his details below).

There is encouraging news, too. The Bumblebee Conservation Trust (BBCT) and RSPB Scotland recently joined forces to create the world's first bumblebee sanctuary, funded by Scottish National Heritage. This meadow of perennial wildflowers on Scotland's Vane Farm nature reserve, (beside Loch Leven in Perth and Kinross), is already attracting rare and threatened bumblebees from far and wide, including the blaeberry bumblebee. 

What can you do?

Contact your MEP. Barrie has pointed out that there is now a new law. It is called the European Habitat Directive which states "It is illegal to harm protected species or disrupt their habitat." I contacted my MEP, Glyn Ford (Labour) and he confirmed that bees are protected. In fact, it is illegal to kill a bee in the EU. Contact your MEP and ask how the European parliament is going to respond to the bee crisis, given these facts. You can also email your MP. Email contacts for all MPs and MEPs can be found at
Write to Defra (Lord Rooker, Minister for Sustainable Farming & Food, Nobel House, 17 Smith Square, London, S0W1P 3JR).
• Call the National Bee Unit. South West helpline 01364 653325.
Contact me! I would like to set up a Bristol-based campaign group to raise awareness of issues surrounding our threatened bees and to explore how they could be protected. Email me, Sami, at if you want to get involved.
- Join the Bumblebee Conservation Trust
Adult membership starts at just £1 per month, tel 01786 467818; see .
Plant your garden with bee-friendly plants. Dr Ivor Davis, master beekeeper and past president of the British Beekeepers' Association, writes in The Guardian: "[Bees like] single-flowering plants and vegetables. Go for all the allium family, all the mints, all beans except French beans and flowering herbs. Bees like daisy-shaped flowers – asters and sunflowers – also tall plants like hollyhocks, larkspur and foxgloves. Willows and lime trees are exceptionally good."
Buy local honey. Local honey will be prepared by local beekeepers (who use less industrialised methods which are healthier for bees).

British Beekeeper's Association for a wealth of information
Patrick Moulsdale (holistic beekeeping)  
Save our Bees: Increase Bee Health Research, published by the British Beekeepers Association, Tel: 02476 696679 "

Friday, 5 March 2010

Update - Public Event - 11th April

Safe Land for Bees Event

This was a huge success, attracting over 100 people. The speakers were excellent and the feedback so far is that people who came felt that they learned lots and had a highly enjoyable time. Come to our next meeting of the group in Southville Bristol, email for details) to find out more.
It was held on Sunday 11th April 2010 from 1.30 - 5pm at Windmill Hill Community centre, Vivian street, Bristol.

The aim of the event was to provide accurate information and a new overview about the situation bees currently face.

There were two speakers:

Barrie Trower, Scientific Advisor to the Radiation Research Trust and to HESE, presented a new paper titled 'The true cost of damage to the environment (ecosystems) from the Telecommunications industry'.
This was very thought provoking. Barrie's paper will be posted here by the beginning of August.

"Within my capacity as a scientific adviser, I receive many research papers from all over the world and I believe what is happening to bees is also happening to other living things" Barrie Trower.
Picture of Barrie speaking 

Carlo Montesanti of the Global Bee Project gave a fascinating and highly enjoyable illustrated talk which showed why protecting bee diversity is so vital, and how we can conserve and encourage these vitally important creatures.

Carlo pictured with Jessie Jowers from the Global Bee Project

The hall was transformed by imaginative decorations - bunting in the shape of honey-combs interspersed with inflatable bees while the walls were lined with children's art-work. A Bee Bazaar of stalls were enjoyed by all and stalls included bee-friendly plants, showing how to make a bee house for your garden, selling bee houses and Warre hives, as well as other bee related products and information. A cafe selling honey-cake and other refreshments was a welcome addition. And at least 9 people spent the afternoon dressed up as bees!!

Entrance was by donation. We made a small profit after costs, for the Safe Land for Bees group

For more information, email


Monday, 14 December 2009


Group meetings

The group meets approximately every 6 weeks, currently in Southville, Bristol on a weekday evening.

Smaller groups may meet in between these times to work on specific issues, tasks or events.

Date of the next meeting is
in June 2010, 7.30 - 9.30pm, in Southville, Bristol.

To get involved in the group or for more information,
Email us on 

Who we are

Safe Land for Bees is a Bristol based group set up to create awareness of the crisis for bees and the issues facing them. Our aim is to create a network of land where bees can live safely and thrive.

Issues bees face
Bees are essential and indispensable to our food supply. They are vital for pollination which most crops rely on. ⅓ of the things on our table are there because of the work of bees. Yet they have recently come under great threat. Colony Collapse Disorder and other diseases are leading to rapid declines in the number of both honey bees and wild bees.

Safe Land for Bees feels that key issues behind the current crisis that bees are facing are:

  • The use of pesticides and herbicides in farming, especially neonicotinoids which are already banned in some countries because of their effects on bees.
  • Microwave radiation from mobile phone masts, wifi, etc. These have been shown to interfere with bees' communication and navigation systems, and the numbers and range of masts at present mean that it is often impossible for bees to avoid radiation from them.
  • The loss of wildlife areas and / or areas with a range of foods for bees that will sustain them throughout the year. Agricultural monocultures can cause a lack of a healthy diet for bees, or even near starvation at certain times of the year. And where GM crops have been planted this adds in yet another level of unknown dangers to bees.
  • The use of unsustainable beekeeping practises which undermine bees' natural way of life.
  • The increase in the number of diseases and parasites affecting bees at present. However, we see this primarily as an effect of the above four issues rather than a cause. When bees' immune systems are weakened in so many ways, they become susceptible to diseases that previously they would have been able to deal with.

We call for

  • The establishment of pesticide and herbicide free areas, and a government ban on neonicotinoids.
  • Robust regulation of mobile phone masts and other microwave radiation, and free public access to information about where the masts are.
  • Education about, and the widespread adoption of, sustainable bee keeping practices.
  • The maintenance and creation of areas which are wild and/or with a range of habitats and plants for bees.
  • We feel it is important to involve and motivate people to support the bees by conveying a positive picture of bees and having small local things that people can do, like making their gardens and allotments more bee friendly.
SLFB aims to protect and preserve the bio-diversity of the world.

"Every living thing comes from the earth. We want to keep our beautiful natural world - the earth - going, and bees are part of that world" - Sarah M SLFB group member.
"Bees are great because they link two areas which are often disconnected: people's interests and being kind to the planet. It shows how the planet is also people's life support system" Diane, SLFB group member.
Pictured: Sami Chugg, Chairperson, Safe Land for Bees

For further information