PESTMINSTER: Parliament’s dramatic 600% spending rise on pest control consultancy
The amount spent by Parliamentary authorities on pest control consultants has increased by nearly 600 percent in just one year, from £1,581 to £10,785, whilst nearly £30,000 was spent on flying hawks to scare pigeons.
The shocking spending, revealed via freedom of information requests, shows the lengths officials are going to in their efforts to stop vermin taking over the historic grade one listed complex.
In response to the requests, submitted by The Sun newspaper, it was admitted that £28,700 of taxpayers money was spent last year on flying hawks over Parliament to scare away pigeons and stop them nesting on the roof.
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Wild bees boost blueberry quality
Wild bee pollinators help produce plumper, faster-ripening blueberries, according to scientists.
A unique study led by University of Vermont, USA, revealed that wild bee populations improve the quality of blueberry crops as much as quantity, and led to earlier harvests by two and a half days.
Using electric toothbrushes to mimic the buzz pollination of bumblebees, scientists hand pollinated blueberry plants and then painted the collected pollen on over 5000 blueberry flowers.
For more information on how wild bees boost blueberry quality, you can read the full article here.
South African bees: ‘One million die in Cape Town’
At least one million bees are suspected to have died of poisoning in a wine-producing area of South Africa.
Brendan Ashley-Cooper told the BBC that an insecticide used by wine farmers, Fipronil, was thought to have killed the insects on his farm.
Other honey bee farmers in the area around Cape Town have also been affected, but it is still unclear how many of the insects have died, he said.
Fipronil has been blamed for the deaths of millions of honey bees in Europe.
Campaigners say Fipronil is highly toxic to insects, and its use was restricted in Europe in 2013.
Head over to the BBC to read more.
New hotspots of ‘super rats’ triggers farmer warning
Farmers have been advised to beware of new hotspots of ‘super rats’ that are resistant to rodenticides, a report says.
In East Anglia and West Yorkshire, the report identifies the L120Q gene for the first time, responsible for the most severe form of resistance. This gene renders first generation anticoagulant rodenticides and two of the second generation groups ineffective.
It is widespread across the whole of central southern England and also found increasingly outside that area.
For more on rats and farming, head over to Farming UK.