It’s no secret that I have a small obsession with bees, and recently I have been thinking a lot about the declining bee population.
The Food and Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations estimates that out of some 100 crop species which provide 90% of food worldwide, 71 of these are bee-pollinated. In fact in the UK, the government have stated that “the value of pollination to UK agriculture is £440 million per year. So basically bees are pretty essential to our food chain.
That is why the news that there is was a drop of 54% in England honey bee colonies over the last 20 years is so worrying. To put this into context London Beekeepers’ Association John Chapple was quoted in the Guardian (2010) as saying that out of its 150 members in the capital, they lost between a fifth and a quarter of their colonies.
The more I read about the global decline of bee populations, the more I can’t help but wonder if this is our warning. Has the bee become our canary in the coal mine?