Ecologists have reported that there is a 75 percent decline in all flying insects, including bees, butterflies, and moths in the last 25 years.
The event Bee Quest: Saving Bees and the Planet examined why this was.
Professor Dave Goulson, Ecologist at the University of East Sussex said, “we have no moral right to wipe out species just because it is convenient for us.”
With around 20,000 types of bee in the world, the most common and frequently found in the UK are the honey bee and bumble bee.
Bumble bees are usually found in a colony of over 200, whereas many other species of flying insects are lone, solitary workers.
Despite the social differences, all bees play a crucial role in our ecosystem.
So why are we so dependent upon bees? Over three quarters of all the crops we eat are pollinated by bees.
Those sweet strawberries and crunchy apples we all love to consume would be gone in a flash if it were not for the bees’ pollination.
Bees are on the global decline because of three main pressures; disease, loss of habitat and pesticides.
In the UK, the main concern that bees face is the loss of habitat, where 98 percent of ‘flower-rich’ grassland has been replaced for agricultural and industrial purposes.
Pesticides are also a significant challenge, as currently the top five garden centre chains including Homebase and B&Q are selling plants under the false pretence of being bee friendly.
Instead these pesticides contain harmful substances, including neonicotinoids which are toxic to bees.
To counteract this issue, consumers should be looking for plants labelled ‘perfect for pollinators’ or grow plants from seeds. We can also mow our lawns less to keep the flowers fresh and create a bee hotel.
Losing bees will have a detrimental consequence for humanity, which is why we need to give these flying insects a helping hand.