Almost a fifth of the UK’s honeybees died last winter, the British Beekeepers’ Association has said.
Combined with an average 30% loss the year before, it means beekeepers are struggling to keep colonies going.
Honeybees are worth £200m a year to UK agriculture because of their work pollinating crops.
Bees are suffering from viruses, a parasitic mite and changes in the weather. Experts are calling for more money to be put into research.
A survey by the British Beekeepers’ Association (BBKA) suggested an average of 19.2% of colonies died over winter, which is “double” the acceptable level.
The highest losses were recorded in the north of England, where 32.1% perished, and the lowest in eastern England, where 12.8% did not survive. …
A report by the Parliamentary Accounts Committee last month warned the government was giving “little priority” to the health of the nation’s bees despite their importance to the agricultural economy.
Experts say sustaining bee populations is essential to ensuring the survival of Britain’s plants and crops.