After lunch there was a choice of lectures: Mike Brown on 30 years evolution of the National Bee Unit and Professor Francis Ratnieks on the Sussex Plan for Honey Bee Health and Well Being. I chose the latter. I first met Francis Ratnieks in 2000 when we landed at Dublin airport and were collected by a local beekeeper, Brian o’Dochartai, and shown around Newgrange before going to Gormanston where Francis was the chief lecturer that year.
He told us that the pollination value of honeybees equals that of all the other bees added together! He has been studying bees over 5 continents. There’s much less nitrogen fixing clover nowadays and more chemical fertilisers so that 50% of the nitrogen in your body came from five factories!
There are 50 times as many insects on unmown meadows as mown on chalk downland.
The most visited flowers are called ‘weeds’. He recommends marjoram and borage.
There’s a video on the LASI U tube channel that I have yet to visit.