In recent years there has been a large decline in the UK's bee population. Both honey bees and bumblebees have been affected and as yet scientists are unsure why.


A number of reasons for the decline have been proposed including:

Diseases caused by mite and virus infections. The varroa mite infests an estimated 95% of hives and left untreated bee colonies will die within 4 years.

Recent cold, wet summers have affected the times of year that bee-friendly plants grow and have prevented bees finding food.

As flower-rich grasslands in the UK disappear bees are losing their habitats and insecticides used by farmers to kill pests will also harm bees if applied without care.

It is estimated that if the world's bee population was to die out then man could only survive for four years. No more bees would mean no more pollination which would lead to plants dying along with many animals who rely on vegetation for food.

Scientists are working hard to discover what factors are contributing to the decline of bees including those at the National Bee Unit in York, the largest bee health group in the UK monitoring and working to improve bee health.

The Bumblebee Conservation Trust is a charity that aims to conserve bumblebees and their habitats through conservation and education. The Trust can advise on bee-friendly gardens and encourages farmers to manage their land to stop the decline of bumblebees.

There are a number of things you can do to help bees in your garden including growing bee-friendly plants and providing them with shelter.

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