Why Are Our Bees Dying?
Scientists are not yet sure what is causing the huge decline in bee numbers. Scientists say it may be caused by a number of factors including
- Disease from mite and virus infections. The varroa mite reached the UK in 1992 and now infests 95% of hives. Untreated bee colonies die in 3 to 4 years and even low populations of mites affects the bees’ health. Other notifiable diseases include American Foul Brood and European Foul Brood have all been found in some areas of the UK
- Changing weather patterns. Recent wet and cold summers have prevented bees from foraging for food and have affected the time of year that forage plants appear.
- Loss of Habitat. Flower-rich grasslands in England have declined by 97% over 60 years, with similar losses elsewhere. This has hit the UK’s bumblebees particularly hard. A range of options are available to farmers to create useful habitat but if we can all work together to create a flower-rich countryside, this would help ourUK honey bees, bumblebees and other pollinating insects survive.
- Insecticides. Insecticides used to kill agricultural pests may harm bees if these are applied incorrectly or without care.
We all need to do our part to help save our bees, whether that’s by planting bee friendly plants or by supporting the work of the scientists, UK beekeepers and organisations such as the Bumblebee Conservation Trust, who are working hard to try and help the UK’s dying bees.