Increased use of pesticide 'killing England's bees'By Paul Cassell
June 18, 2012
Increased use of pesticides is killing off the nation’s bees and putting pollination at risk, according to scientists at The University of Reading.
The university has published a report, The Decline of England’s Bees, as part of a national campaign by Friends of the Earth.
Research by the university for The Bee Cause campaign, launched last month, reveals pesticide use rose by 6.5 per cent between 2005 and 2010.
The report also highlights an increase in insecticides on crops pollinated by bees and therefore increasing the risk to them.
It also shows how the use of herbicides can destroy vital sources of food for bees.
Simon Potts, professor of biodiversity and ecosystem services, said: “Research from The University of Reading and elsewhere has shown the multiple problems that are facing Britain’s bee population.
“This is a big problem that needs a combined effort by national and local government, businesses and individuals to make a difference.”
Prof Potts has been studying bees and pollination services for 25 years and his 30-strong team is conducting research to help develop policy and practices to better protect them.
Research released last month by Friends of the Earth revealed it would cost the UK an extra £1.8 billion every year to hand-pollinate crops without bees.
The Bee Cause is calling on David Cameron to produce a National Bee Action Plan to tackle bee decline by suspending and reducing the use of pesticides and changes to the way the impact on bees’ health is assessed.
Sarah Raven, celebrity gardener and presenter of BBC TV series Bees, Butterflies and Blooms, said: “Bees are vital to our food supply and our economy so it makes sense for us to do everything in our power to save them.
“Being bee-friendly in our gardens is a great way to create much-needed places for bees to live and to easily up the amount of food in the UK for them. Action in our gardens must be supported by action from Government.”
Paul de Zylva, nature campaigner at Friends of the Earth, said: “As well as an overdue investigation into the impact of pesticides on bees, the Government must make urgent changes to the way we plan our towns and cities and farm our countryside so we can reverse their decline.
“To save our economy billions and give bees the best chance, David Cameron must commit to a National Bee Action Plan.”