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Bees' Needs Week

At the start of Bees’ Needs Week, new research today (Monday 18 July) revealed that improving pollinator populations could help stabilise the production of important crops like oilseeds and fruit.

The new research, published by the University of Reading, found that crops visited by pollinators had more stable yields, with 32% less variation than those crops grown in the absence of pollinators.

Thousands of pollinators – bumblebees, butterflies, moths, flies and honeybees – are essential for food production and biodiversity. But they are under threat, facing growing challenges from climate change, pests and diseases, invasive species and habitat loss.

This year Bees’ Needs Week (18 – 24 July) makes a call on the public to take Five Simple Actions to help pollinators.

These actions are easy to do, and it doesn’t matter how much space is available – every action, big or small, counts. To sustain bee populations, everyone can:

  1. Grow more flowers, shrubs and trees
  2. Let your garden grow wild
  3. Cut your grass less often
  4. Don’t disturb insect nest and hibernation spots
  5. Think carefully about whether to use pesticides

Monitoring for insects in your local area is also a great way to help scientists understand what pollinator populations look like. The Pollinator Monitoring Scheme is the first scheme in the world to generate data on the abundance of bees, hoverflies and other flower-visiting insects at a national scale. It will provide information that will help us measure trends in pollinator populations and target conservation efforts.

This summer, thousands of people will be taking part in a Flower-Insect-Timed Count (FIT Count) and as part of Bees’ Needs Week, the public are being encouraged to take part. Anyone can get involved by taking ten minutes to observe flowers and insects in good weather before sharing the information on the app. FIT Counts can be completed anywhere, wherever there is an abundance of flowers, and every observation helps improve survey records and knowledge of pollinator activity.

Department for Environment, Food & Rural Affairs, Natural England, and The Rt Hon Lord Benyon
18 July 2022