Thinking

Why Wild Bumblebees Need Your Help

28th November 2019

Pollinators, especially bees, are essential for long term food production but they are under threat. 

90% of the food we eat comes from just 100 crop species, and bees pollinate 70% of these crops. Almost every tomato you’ve eaten will have been pollinated by bumblebees.

In the last 80 years, bumblebee populations have been decimated. Two native species have become extinct and 8 of the UK’s 24 species are now endangered. The decline in bumblebees is due to many factors, but principally the loss of 97% of meadow to intensive agriculture and urban development since the 1930’s is responsible.

The Bumblebee Conservation Trust was established in 2006 to increase the number and distribution of wild pollinators like bumblebees. The good news is that the Trust has experienced an unprecedented amount of interest in their work thanks to the well documented decline in biodiversity and bee numbers.

Bumblebees are one of the major contributors in insect pollination, and essential to sustainable food production.

While bee species have suffered in recent years, there is an important distinction to be made between honeybee colonies and the conservation crisis in wild bee species. Honeybee numbers may be dwindling but they can be farmed by beekeepers to increase the population. Wild bees by contrast are truly wild. They do not make honey and live in nests of around 50 to 400, minuscule compared to honeybee hives which can house up to 60,000. 

Evidence is also starting to emerge from Cambridge University that the balance is tipping further against wild bees, as farmed honeybee numbers create more competition for food. 

That’s why the work of the Bumblebee Conservation Trust is so important to encourage the planting of more bee-friendly flowers so there is enough forage for all bee species. Farmdrop is honoured to be working with them during the Green Friday weekend to raise awareness and support their important work, with 2.5% of sales revenue being donated. 

You can find out more information about the Bumblebee Conservation Trust’s work at www.bumblebeeconservation.org or check out their Instagram and Facebook page.

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