It’s estimated that bees contribute £500 million annually to the British economy. And it’s not just about honey, because we rely on bees to pollinate around 75% of our food crops. Without bees and other pollinating insects, we’d struggle to produce many of the foods we’ve grown to love – strawberries, apples pears, jams, even coffee.
But our bees are in crisis. It’s estimated their numbers have declined by over half in the past 30 years. Two species of bumblebee have become extinct in the UK in recent years and 250 other species of pollinator are under threat of extinction.
On the Tonight programme - today at 7.30pm on ITV - Fiona Foster examines how the recent cold weather, the deadly Varroa mite and major habitat loss have all contributed to the bees’ decline.
In April this year the EU banned neonicotinoid pesticides as a precautionary measure following scientific studies suggesting they may be part of the problem. Tonight questions the UK’s Department for Environment Food and Rural Affairs, over its opposition to the European ban.
Fiona also meets those trying to halt the decline and offers practical advice about how we can all do our own bit to help save the bees.