BEES AND BIODIVERSITY



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Our native bees and honey bees are responsible for pollinating the majority of flowering plants in this country, which in turn, produce many of our crops. In fact many of our fruits, vegetable and nut crops rely solely on insect pollination and it's believed that at least 1/3rd of our diet is directly dependant on the relationship of flowers and their pollination by bees.

In the spring of 2008 around one third of honey bees were lost in the UK, and while it’s not entirely clear what had caused this massive population drop, if such loses continue it will have a devastating effect on the countries crop production. Such figures have also brought to light the importance of native English bumble bees to crop pollination should honey bee populations eventually crash.


There used to be about 27 species of native bee within the UK, but with the introduction of intensive farming after the Second World War about 95% of natural flower-rich pasture land was lost to us when it was turned over to edible crops. As a result of this, two species of our native bees have already become extinct while general native bee populations are in decline. If - at the every least - native bumble bee populations can be sustained, then at least there is some hope for the future of UK crop production. However for a more 'fruitful future, steps will need to be taken to allow more land to return back into its natural 'wildflower' state, and for pesticide use to be more closely regulated.

The time to make a difference and stop the decline in native bee populations is long overdue, and with front and back gardens accounting for approximately 1 million hectares, even a slight change in the selections of ornamental plants that we grow, could have an enormous effect on our dwindling bee populations. The problem with native bumble bees is that they are unable to store large amounts of honey and this requires them to feed from a continual supply of nectar rich flowers. Without a constant supply, the honey resources within the nest can become quickly depleted and leaving the bees and their larvae to starve to death. As Albert Einstein observed ‘...No more bees, no more pollination, no more plants, no more man...’

Biodiversity Begins with a B is a darkly comic look at the importance of bees to our natural environment. It features the voice of Scots comedian Phil Kay and encourages people to take a few simple actions to help support the variety of living things around us.

You can help biodiversity by:

* Featuring the film on your website or blog (video embed code below)

* Sharing the film via social networks like Facebook and Twitter

* Sharing the film internally within your organisation

If you’d like more information about biodiversity, the Scottish Natural Heritage website (http://www.snh.gov.uk) and the Convention on Biological Diversity website (http://www.cbd.int/) are fantastic resources.

Many thanks for your support.

Simon Eade

PESTICIDES TOXIC TO HONEY BEES

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