Bees contribute billions to British economy, study says

A research team at the University of Reading has estimated that bees contribute more to the economy of Britain than the monarchy. The new figures put up by the team suggest that annual contribution of the pollinators to UK’s economy is £651, which is £150 million more than the yearly revenue brought in by the Royal Family through tourism.

According to the data gathered by the researchers, the overall value of bees has increased to £651 in 2012 from £220 in 1996; this marks an increase of 191% during a period of16 years. The team also learnt that 45% of UK’s strawberry crop and 85% of apple crop rely on bees for growing; those crops together brought in revenue of £200 million to the UK in 2012.


Right now, the British government is reviewing whether the ban on neonicotinoid-based pesticides should be lifted. Currently, the government doesn’t allow farmers to use these pesticides fearing that the chemicals present in them results in destruction of bee colonies.

British not-for-profit political-activism organization 38 Degrees has submitted a petition signed by over 364,000 people requesting the Environment Minister Liz Trust to reject farmers’ request of using neonicotinoid-based pesticides on rapaseed this summer.

Megan Bentall, a 38 Degrees campaigner, said that the figures put up by the research team at the University of Reading show that a decline in UK’s bee population would have a huge impact in the country’s rural economy.

Bentall added that she and her co-campaigners are wondering why the British government is even considering lifting the ban on the harmful pesticides. She said that she along with other petitioners is calling for the government and Liz Trus, the current Environment Minister, for keeping the ban on neonicotinoid pesticides, and that too without any exception.

According to Bentall, keeping the ban on bee-killing pesticides is a must for ensuring that our future generations can eat home grown Bramley apples and strawberries.

Although findings of the above study are suggesting that only 2% of bee species found in the UK perform 80% of the crop pollination, researchers are saying that more efforts should be put in for conserving all bee species of the land. This is because other species might also be required once the climate becomes warmer.