Britain’s government has been warned that the country will enter into an “agricultural disaster” unless more money is put towards discovering what is killing the country’s bees.
Protesters from the British Beekeepers Association (BBKA), dressed in traditional, white beekeeper suits, delivered a petition signed by more than 140,000 people to Downing Street today, calling for £8 million funding research into causes of the bee decline.[social_buttons]
Over the past 12 months, one in three of Britain’s honey bee colonies – amounting to nearly two billion bees, have been lost. These losses are the greatest yet for the UK. The causes of the massive die-off are unclear, and the apiarists fear there is nothing to prevent a similar devastation in the year to come. The beekeepers claim that the Government is doing nothing to prevent it from happening.
It is thought that half of naturally occurring plants that birds and mammals depend upon bees for pollination. The BBKA believes that agriculture will start to suffer from the loss of bees this spring when plants that haven’t been pollinated fail to bear fruit.
Tim Lovett, president of the BBKA, said the massive bee die-off would result in “agricultural disaster and decline of wildlife”.
“All the time we lose bees we are putting at risk the pollination work force,” he said. “Whilst we appear to have got away with it so far, we will reap the whirlwind of the pollination deficit eventually unless something is done.”
One hundred years ago, the UK had around one million bee hives. This number had reduced to 400,000 in the 1950s and more recently to the 274,000 beehives found in England today.
The Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs said it is developing a 10-year bee health strategy, but as of yet they have committed no funds to the cause.
Photo: Eigene Aufnahme from Wikimedia Commons