Tag Archives: bee

The Most Dangerous English Animal (4)

So, which animals are the killers in England?
Well, in England, there is no animal carnage whatsoever. All the animals are unbelievably  friendly and welcoming. Nobody in history has ever been killed by a fox:

fox

And nobody has ever been done to death by a Lion’s Mane jellyfish either:

jelly

Hard luck Sherlock:

sherl

One lady was hospitalised after a gull attack. The killer birds pecked her little dog to death, which made some of the neighbours sad. A similar incident led to the death of a pensioner who had a heart attack.
On average, only one person a year in England is killed by cows (which really surprised me, I must say).
Five people a year are killed by wasps and bees every year in Britain, the same figure as the average number of deaths by terrorism, apparently.

psaw xxx
Only fourteen people have died in total from snakebite since 1876, with the last one more than forty years ago.
Since 2005 there have been 17 deaths caused by dog attack, which is just under two per year. There are almost a quarter of a million non-fatal attacks per year. These may sometimes be just a scratch but quite often they result in permanent disfigurement. And these statistics are rising rapidly with an increase of a third in the last five years. Animal shelters are apparently nowadays full with all the thousands of Staffordshire Bull Terriers which have been found to be too fierce to be kept as pets:

dog

Most dangerous perhaps, though, are the Artiodactyla, the deer and the antelope. In fact, we have no antelopes in England but the deer make up for it.
Around 75,000 deer are hit by cars every year in the UK.  This results in 450 injuries but only a few fatalities. Latest figures say that there are up to a dozen, either drivers or passengers.

deer

Getting it all into context, in 2010, 1,970 people were killed in transport accidents with almost four hundred of these being pedestrians. Two pedestrians were killed by a bicycle on the pavement and a further five were killed by motorbikes. Cars and vans claimed 133 victims in the total, and 55 pedestrians were in either a bus or a lorry with 39 hit by a train. Just over a hundred cyclists were killed in total (123) and 429 motorcyclists perished. Travelling in cars, 1,115 deaths occurred, a rather good advert, perhaps, for the virtues of the seat belt. On water, 14 deaths occurred and 22 people were killed in aeroplanes.
Stairs were killers on almost 700 occasions:

steps

A further 53 people fell to their death off a ladder. It can be accidental:

ladeeeer Or simply, a great mind at work:

ladder-double

More bizarrely, 36 people were killed by a “thrown, projected or falling” object.
Accidental drowning claimed 217 with 29 in the bath and 3 in the local swimming pool. The majority of people who drown, of course, are swimmers rather than non-swimmers.
The real killer animals were doctors and surgeons who claimed 433 people in medical accidents. The forces of nature claimed 129, the same figure as for “excessive natural cold”.
And what about those killer lifts? Four fatalities between 2002-2010.
And I’m still trying to work out how they did it. Five people managed to suffocate in bed:

marie-antoinette

There were lots of different sources for these statistics, so I picked one that seemed to be from a reasonable source.

Advertisements

24 Comments

Filed under Criminology, History, Science, Wildlife and Nature

Neonicotinoids: a disaster about to happen

Man’s most faithful insect friend is the Bee. Not everybody may like bees. Some people might be frightened of their sting. But everybody respects their industry and their willingness to work hard for the common good. That’s why we have all been saying “As busy as a bee” for the last five hundred years. Buzz, buzz, buzz…

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Unfortunately, though, there’s a new type of insecticide around. They are called Neonicotinoids, and appear to be killing indiscriminately vast numbers of  insects which are helpful to Man.

I really do hope that this is not the reason that I seem to be seeing so few butterflies, bees, wasps or any other insects in my organic, insecticide and pesticide free garden.

Recent research in Holland has revealed, though, just how catastrophic the widespread use of Neonicotinoids may be, not only for bees and other helpful insects, but for birds and then for animals higher up the food chain. The story in full is revealed at greater length here, but I have selected the most important elements for you here:

Have the patience to read about this grim scenario…

“Neonicotinoids are causing significant damage to insects, and now a new Dutch study has revealed that these pesticides are having a significant negative impact too on birds.
Insects form a large part of the diet of many birds during the breeding season and are essential for raising offspring. We investigated the most widely used neonicotinoid, which is called “Imidacloprid”. Here in the Netherlands, local populations were significantly smaller in areas with high surface-water concentrations of Imidacloprid. At concentrations of more than 20 nanograms per litre, bird populations declined by 3.5 per cent annually. Additional research revealed that this decline appeared only after the introduction of Imidacloprid to the Netherlands, in the mid-1990s. The birds most affected included Starling, Tree Sparrow and Swallow.
The overall impact on the environment is even greater than has recently been reported and is reminiscent of the effects of insecticides like DDT in the past.”

dead bees
The BBC News Environment Correspondent, Matt McGrath, has several times reported similar worries about the declining numbers of valuable insects. In one report, it was argued  that the process of evolution might lead us into some very bad places indeed…

“Neonicotinoids are causing great damage to a wide range of beneficial species and are a key factor in the decline of bees…..the evidence of damage is now conclusive, and the threat to nature is the same as that once posed by the notorious chemical DDT.

When seeds are routinely coated in these chemicals, the resulting plants will then grow up with an inbuilt ability to destroy many species of insect.”

Manufacturers deny totally, of course, that these pesticides are harming bees or any other species (surprise, surprise). Scientists, though, are extremely worried about their use. Professor Goulson, one of a team of 29 researchers, has developed this nightmare scenario one stage further…

“”The more neonicotinoids are used, the likelier it is that pest insects themselves will then become resistant to them. Using them like this is absolute madness.”

The situation is worryingly reminiscent of the crisis described by Rachel Carson in her book “Silent Spring”.

wertyuio

The Los Angeles Times recalls…

book 1
“Carson’s 1962 book, “Silent Spring,” kick-started the modern environmental movement, it suggested that better protection for pollinators and plant life was required for healthy people and healthy agriculture. Without her intelligence and eloquence, we would already be living in a world of unspeakable impoverishment, one with silent springs and fruitless falls.”

 

 

Opposition to Neonicotinoids is already enormous.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

In addition to protests, there is a large number of petitions you can sign. 363,258 supporters signed this one, which has now closed. There’s another petition for Ontario that has 54,984 supporters . Some other petitions are just starting up, with only 180 signers so far… This is not, though, a cranky minority issue. Another site has a staggering 331,872 signatures…. The comments on this particular petition are even stronger….

“The chemical companies are all and far too powerful – they have friends in high places, they lobby very strongly and are nothing more than drug-dealers. Just research the companies that ex-MPs work for after their stint in public service – that’s who runs the country…..”
Laurie Allan

“Of course the farmers are denying that they are the problem yet again, just like they claim poverty, always seem to running around in big fancy cars, polluting the atmosphere just like they pollute the earth, and the price of food spirals all the time”
William Thom

We need to do something about this, or the world will be a much, much poorer place without bees. And a  considerably hungrier one. Up to one third of our food is produced by bee pollination.

And then we will all start to be on the side of Alan Partridge.

 

Leave a comment

Filed under My Garden, Science, Wildlife and Nature