Importance of Pollinators
Pollinating insects provide almost incalculable economic and ecological benefits to humans, wildlife and flowering plants. Honey bees, Apis melifera, are the third most economically important agricultural livestock globally after cattle and pork, Honey bees are indispensable to the stability of crop production and food security in the UK and across the world, contributing many millions to crop quality and quantity via pollination services. The first step in the production of fruit and vegetables is the pollination of the flower, of which 70% of the 124 main crops used directly for human consumption depend on pollinators.
Britain’s bees are in trouble. 35 UK bees species are under threat of extinction, and all species face serious threats. Right now, they need us almost as much as we need them.
The decline in bees' diversity and abundance would have a serious impact on how our natural world functions. Bees are a sign of how healthy, or otherwise, our environment is.
Bee News & Facts
Fantastic news for bees! The European Commission has voted in favour of a ban on bee-harming neonicotinoids on all outdoor crops. The UK and Europe listened to the public and overwhelming scientific evidence on the harm bees and other pollinators face from neonics. But there's still work to do till bees are safe. The government must do more to help farmers adopt pollinator-friendly ways of farming.
Bees, especially wild solitary bees and bumblebees, are in serious decline in the UK and globally. In the UK, we have already lost around 13 species and another 35 are currently at risk.
The biggest single cause of bee decline is the intensification of farming. This is compounded by the increased use of pesticides, especially neonicotinoids, which is having a devastating impact on wild bees.
What can you do to help?
Become a Pollenize Patron, think global, act local!
Learn more about the threats facing bees, including habitat loss, climate change, pesticides, pests and disease, and invasive species.
Choose flowers with pollen that bees can get at easily – single-flower varieties for example. Grow a range of plants that will provide a succession of flowers for as long as possible during the year – bees need nectar from very early spring until early winter. The great thing about gardening is that it’s good for you as well as wildlife. Fresh air and gentle exercise improve health and wellbeing. The scale of your bee-friendly growing will depend on your outside space, but it all helps. If you don’t have a garden, plant a window box or hanging basket. You could try:
Flowering herbs - try marjoram, chives, sage and thyme.
Low growers - try crocus, bluebell, snowdrop and nasturtium.
Bushy plants - try hyssop, hebe, rosemary and lavender.
Trees - try hawthorn, hazel, holly and willow.
Fruit and vegetables - try strawberries, tomatoes and beans
Attractive ornamentals - try achillea, allium, angelica, echinacea, foxglove and verbena.#
Choose local honey
An easy – and delicious – way to help the British honey bee is to buy the fruits of its labour: support beekeepers by choosing honey produced near you. You’ll see all the different colours honey can be – from dark green and deep gold to almost pure white. And it could be an excuse to buy other products like honey beer, beeswax candles and sweet-smelling honey soaps and balms.