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Honeybees are just one of the over 250 species of bee in the UK. We also rely on different species of wild bumble bees and solitary bees to help pollinate our crops, the plants in our gardens, parks and countryside. But since 1900, we’ve lost around 20 species of bee in the UK alone and others are becoming less widespread. While loss of habitat is a key factor, the impact of pesticides – and especially neonicotinoids – is increasingly thought to be playing a significant part in our declining bee populations.
The weight of evidence from both laboratory and field tests is growing each year, but the legal safeguards to protect our bees from harmful pesticides are still critically insufficient.
More harm than good
The tragic irony about the use of these chemicals on our food and other crops is that the overall impact of pesticides could be causing more harm than good. For a start, pesticides kill not just genuine pests, but many of the beneficial insects that naturally help keep crop pests away. Use of neonics has been found to be harming the beetles which would usually help control slugs.
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