Are bees in for a drastic decline in 2017?

Heuchera flowers being visited by a bumblebee
Heuchera flowers being visited by a bumblebee

Worldwide there are around 20,000 different species of bee, most of which are solitary bees, 9 species of honey bee and around 250 species of bumblebee. We have around 270 of those species native to the UK! Sadly all those wonderful species of bee are in for a drastic decline in numbers in 2017 due to the use of pesticides, especially neonicotinoids such as thiamethoxam, which are widely used by farmers on agricultural crops to prevent loss due to blight and pests.

A new study from the Royal Holloway College of London, shows a drastic decline in bees fertility due to the use of such damaging pesticides, even when exposed to small amounts of thiamethoxam!

“Future studies across different species are likely to demonstrate further variation in the impact of neonicotinoids, and conducting such studies needs to be a priority for scientists and governments,” Professor Brown

Bee visits Digitalis purpurea in search of nectar
A curious bumblebee visits the flower of Digitalis purpurea in search of nectar

Sadly even “perfect for pollinator” plants, which are widely sold in garden centres may actually be death traps for our buzzing friends. As many “perfect for pollinator” plants are treated with neonicotinoid pesticides prior to being sold! So when your buying plants we would urge you to choose native organically grown plants and ask the garden centres/online retailers if their plants are treated with environmentally damaging pesticides.

Alongside growing a diverse array of nectar and pollen rich plants, we urge people to create habitats within there gardens for bees to nest and set aside part of your garden for a “wild” area. You can place bee hotels, create wonderful sandy areas for bees to burrow in, leave areas of long grass and create safe water feeders for our vital bee friends.

Bee kind to bees this year!