Bees are an essential part of the food chain, pollinating 90% of the world’s commercial foodstuffs, including most fruit, vegetables and nuts. Coffee and cotton are also dependent on pollination by bees.
But there has been a sharp, and alarming, decline in the number of bees over the past few decades. The number of bees in the country has fallen by 70% and three out of the 25 current species of UK bee are completely extinct, according to figures by the Centre for Ecology and Hydrology in the UK. Scientists blame this on various factors, which include disease, the expansion of cities and the use of pesticides and a lack of genetic diversity in bee populations.
If this trend continues, it will have a serious effect on both the UK economy and on the provision of food. With the world’s population growing day by day it’s important that we do all we can to reverse this before it becomes too late and most products disappear from the supermarket shelves.
Wildflower expert and Telegraph columnist Sarah Raven has launched a three-part television series, Bees, Butterflies and Blooms. She is on a mission to get Britain planting wildflowers and insect-friendly plants. We’ve helpfully included a list below, taken from Bumblebee Conservation.
The Telegraph has also published a slideshow of tips on what you can do to maximize bee activity in your gardens.
This campaign is really important and East End Gardener are proud to support it!
Bees, Butterflies and Blooms is on BBC2 at 8pm on Wednesdays. You can catch up on BBC iPlayer here.
Follow Sarah Raven on Twitter