Why we need a local group to help our pollinators: see Crediton Bee Project Launch - Dates for your Diary

A World Without Pollinators: There Is No Plan Bee

Honey bees alone are responsible for $30 billion (almost £23 million) worth of crop growth per year. Currently in the UK there are 250 native species of bee; and while this may sound like a healthy number, three species are already extinct, two are critically endangered and many more are seriously declining in number.

The dangers facing bees and other pollinators has become an increasing public concern. Across the UK, small action groups are working hard in their local towns to help tackle the problems, with more initiatives being brought forward on a national scale. However, with the numbers in such dramatic decline, it is more crucial than ever to raise awareness of the vital role that bees and other pollinators play in our agricultural and eco systems, and the catastrophic effect their extinction could have on the human population.

 What's Good for the Bee Is Good for The Whole Hive

It is estimated that as much as one third of the food that we consume daily relies on pollination mainly by bees, but also by other insects, birds and bats. As well as ensuring the survival of crops, bees and other pollinators are also responsible for the survival of numerous species of wildflowers and plants. If these plants are lost, it could create a disastrous knock-on effect: all the animals that eat those plants could subsequently be lost and this would continue up the food chain. Which means a world without bees could struggle to sustain the global human population of 7 billion.

Two of the main reasons for the global decline in wild pollinators are climate change and industrial agriculture. The widespread use of pesticides and continued urban spread has seen a large-scale destruction in safe and natural habitats. The loss of biodiversity and lack of forage due to pesticides are an added danger, with pollinators confined to tiny fragments of habitat as substantial areas of wild-flower rich habitat become increasingly sparse.

 Protect Our Pollinators

With the potential threats the planet so dramatic, people are becoming increasingly keen to learn what small steps they can take to help create a more sustainable environment for bees and other pollinators. One suggestion is to combat the destruction of habitat by learning how to make your own garden more 'pollinator-friendly'. Key things to consider are refraining from using pesticides or harmful weed-killers and carefully choosing pollinator-friendly flowers and plants to attract bees and other such insects to your garden.

Another recommendation is to allow for areas of wild-growth in your space. The trend of perfectly manicured lawns may look aesthetically pleasing, but it does little to attract biodiversity to your space. Many aren't keen to let their gardens grow wild and free, so consider perhaps having a wild section or two, and comfort yourself with the knowledge that you are playing your part is sustaining these important creatures.

 A Commitment to Our Planet

Small steps by individuals can combine to make big changes, but to truly combat the threats to wild pollinators we must commit to maintaining a sustainable lifestyle and encourage others to do the same. Look for local initiatives in your area, like the Crediton Bee Project. If there aren't any then mobilise your neighbours to create one or lobby your local council to make a commitment to ensuring the conservation of our pollinators. After all, we owe them.

Karoline Gore