The bees are dying. In the 1950’s there were 50 native species of bee in the UK, today there are just over 25.
Honey bees are the number one insect pollinator on the planet, responsible for the production of more than 90 crops. The British Beekeepers Association’s (bbka.org.uk) June report highlights that more than a third of hives did not survive the cold, wet conditions. Every region across England saw dramatic declines, with the numbers lost more than double the previous 12 months. This year’s poor winter, following on from a disastrous summer, is said to be the main reason for the losses.
British beekeepers have been surveyed at the end of March for the last six years. With overall losses at 33.8 per cent, this year’s figures are the worst yet recorded. The hardest hit region was the south west, where over half of the hives were lost. The matter has caused beekeepers to march on Parliament to call on the Government to fund research into what they say is potentially a bigger threat to humanity than the current financial crisis.
Colony Collapse Disorder (CCD) is a phenomenon first noticed in the USA, whereby entire colonies of bees simply died out thanks to hitherto unexplained circumstances. One theory that does hold some weight is the growth in genetically modified crops; bees, of course, love pollen and the theory is that modified pollens may be detrimental to the creatures. Some of the other possible reasons for the declining numbers could be down to a bee plague, pesticides or even malnutrition brought about by changes in global climates and the effects this is possibly having on the seasons and therefore the supply of pollen-bearing flowers.
By planting the flowers bees love, and by raising awareness of their plight, you can help save one of the most vital, and endangered creatures in the UK.