Green Fingers I Wish

Saturday, July 26, 2008

Wild Bumblebees Affected By Disease

Wild bumblebees are probably contracting a disorienting and often fatal disease from their commercial cousins, contributing to the decline of pollinators in North America, a Canadian study concludes.

Managed bumblebees, which pollinate crops worth about $19 billion worldwide, are introducing illnesses that have ravaged wild populations of the same species, according to the study, which is being published online today in the science journal PLoS One. Feral bee losses also harm commercial hives, which are built partly by collecting from the wild.

Bumblebees are the second-biggest pollinating insect in the U.S. after honeybees, which are threatened by Colony Collapse Disorder, a separate ailment marked by the sudden, massive disappearance of bees that occurred in at least 35 states and three continents last year. The study's findings point to a need for commercial beehives of all species to be managed more effectively, said co-author Michael Otterstatter of the University of Toronto.

Friday, July 18, 2008

Butterfly Conservation Concerns

TEN butterfly survival zones are to be set up in Scotland in an effort to save threatened species from extinction.

Scotland is a stronghold for three types of butterfly – the marsh fritillary, pearl-bordered fritillary and the chequered skipper, which is already extinct in the rest of the UK.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Ghost Slug Found in Wales

A "ghost" slug found in a garden in Cardiff has been declared a new species by specialists at the National Museum of Wales and Cardiff University.

They have given the creature a partially Welsh name, Selenochlamys ysbryda, or ghost (ysbryd) slug.

Creatures of this type are more usually found in Turkey and Georgia.

The origin of the ghost slug, and its route into Britain, is completely unknown, and specimens have not been seen in Europe before this was discovered in Cardiff last year.

Another was was spotted in nearby Caerphilly.

Unlike most slugs, the ghost slug is carnivorous and kills earthworms at night with powerful, blade-like teeth, sucking them in like spaghetti.

It has no eyes or bodily colouring and lives underground.

Saturday, July 05, 2008

Tennis fans warned of strawberry pesticides at Wimbledon

Tennis fans enjoying strawberries at Wimbledon have been warned to take heed after a Government study showed nine out of 10 of the fruit nationwide was covered in pesticides.

The samples under scrutiny were taken from national retailers and pick-your-own farms, and almost all of them contained traces of chemicals.

Although the compounds were not dangerous, anti-pesticide campaigners said the results left a "sour taste" in the mouth.

Hmm, not a good advertisement for strawbs is it?

Thursday, July 03, 2008

Strawberries - Where to Grow Them?

Wimbledon, strawberries, yummy.

Now , where to grow them?

Strawberries can be grown in a wide range of soils, from light sand to heavy clay. However, waterlogging will cause the fruits to become diseased and the plant to rot. The ideal soil is well-drained and rich in humus. They prefer to be planted in full sun, out of the wind.

Strawberry plants can be planted outdoors from late June until September. If planted later, the flowers should be removed in the first year so the energy is used to develop a healthy plant in year two.

Prepare the soil prior to planting by digging over the soil, removing any perennial weeds by hand and adding manure to the ground. Place the strawberry plants every 35cm (13 in) within the row, with the rows being 75cm (30 in) apart, and plant with the crown at soil level. Water in well. To prevent slugs, put down pellets or place grit or broken egg shells under each plant.

Strawberry plants can produce fruit for five or six years. However, after the first two years the yields will be reduced dramatically and a build-up of pests and diseases can occur. Strawberry beds are usually kept for two or three years before they're cleared and planted on new ground.