Saturday, September 6, 2008

Apples and pears at risk due to dramatic decline in the honeybee, experts warn

British apples and pears are under threat because of a dramatic decline in honeybee numbers, experts have warned.

The bee population in Britain has fallen by a third over the past year alone due to bad weather, insecticides and soaring numbers of parasitic mites.

As a result, the honey supply is expected to run dry within three months and stocks of fruit and vegetables pollinated by bees will also be devastated.

Tim Lovett, president of the British Beekeeping Association, said the decline in the bee population looked likely to continue and urged the Government to fund more research into the problem.

Fewer bees would lead to a fall in supply of strawberries and broad beans

Fewer bees would lead to a fall in supply of strawberries and broad beans

He warned that since most of our pear and apple productivity relied on pollination from bees, future supplies were endangered.

Mr Lovett said that without bees to pollinate crops, supplies of oil seed rape, strawberries and broad beans could decrease by around 10 per cent, blackcurrants by 20 per cent, raspberries by 30 per cent, runner beans by 40 per cent and apples and pears by up to 90 per cent.

He added: 'If we lose our bees we lose our honey - that we see straight away. But then what we see is a general decline in production of pollinated fruits. We will begin to reap that whirlwind next year.'

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