Friday, 10 January 2014

UK faces food security catastrophe as honeybee numbers fall, scientists warn

Crop pollination via honeybees sinks to second lowest in Europe as study calls for greater protection of wild pollinators

The UK faces a food security catastrophe because of its very low numbers of honeybee colonies, which provide an essential service in pollinating many crops, scientists warned on Wednesday.

New research reveals that honeybees provide just a quarter of the pollination needed in the UK, the second lowest level among 41 European countries. Furthermore, the controversial rise of biofuels inEurope is driving up the need for pollination five times faster than the rise in honeybee numbers. The research suggests an increasing reliance on wild pollinators, such as bumblebees and hoverflies, whose diversity is in decline.

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