Help the bees with the weeds, beekeepers tell local councils

Beekeepers association urges local councils not to remove weeds from rural paths to help Maltese bees 

Photo: Edward Duca
Photo: Edward Duca

The Malta Beekeepers Association has drafted a proposal for local councils not to remove weeds from rural paths between 30 November and 31 May.

Six months of weed overgrowth? Abner Joe Buttigieg’s initiative promises that the wild grass will serve as a source of food for honeybees, one of the most crucial insects that risks being pushed out of the urban environment.

The Maltese beekeepers want an agreement with as many local councils on the island over the removal of wild grass from rural passages. “Wildflower flowers, many of which bloom in the spring season, serve as a source of food for much local wildlife, including honeybees. Over time, due to the country’s urbanisation, these food sources are declining,” Buttigieg said.

The association said the problem is exacerbated by the fact that the fields are overgrown with fodder that offers very little food to the pollen, and so the flora in the rural passages may be the only source of food. “So it’s a big mistake to remove it just as spring is in its infancy,” the beekeepers’ association said.

In recent weeks, the association sent the proposal to all local councils with the aim of committing the signatory councils not to remove weeds from rural paths between 30 November and 31 May on a recurring basis.

“We are pleased to announce that five local councils have already accepted our initiative and signed this Memorandum of Understanding, and many more have expressed interest in signing it in the coming weeks,” the association said.

The councils so far that have signed up for this initiative are Santa Lucija, Lija, Swieqi, Kalkara, and Balzan. “We encourage residents to encourage their respective councils to sign this memorandum.”

As Malta celebrates the traditional agrarian feast of the Imnarja, on the day of St Peter and St Paul, the association wants to raise awareness to the growing challenges bees face, and to highlight that honeycomb is not always guaranteed for various reasons.

“By signing the agreement and applying it, councils will give hope to bees. The craft of beekeeping in Malta has a tradition of thousands of years and is part of the Maltese heritage that together with the Maltese honey bee deserves to be safeguarded for future generations,” the association said.