Factfile on... the decline of the honey bee
IN the UK, about one third of honey bee hives were lost in the winter of 2007/08.
A definitive cause for the decline has not been identified, but pesticides, modern agriculture, disease and selective breeding have all been mooted.
Bees pollinate a third of the food we eat in the UK and contribute £200 million a year to the economy through the benefits of pollination to the food industry.
The USA is suffering too, with a case of Colony Collapse Disorder (CCD) – where whole colonies disappear or die – which saw declines of between 30 per cent and 90 per cent of bees in 27 states.
There have also been reports of CCD in Germany, Switzerland, Spain, Portugal, Italy and Greece.