Bees create greater financial buzz in UK economy than royal family
Bees make honey but they also make money and in fact, contribute £150 million more to the Britain’s economy than the Royal family, according to latest research.
The new study by the University of Reading concentrated on the overall worth of the bees by evaluating how much food crops rely on their contributions to grow, and then estimated how much the sale of such foods meant in the country’s overall financial picture.
The Daily Telegraph said the research concluded that the bees created a real buzz in the economy with an injection of £651 million for the work they did – a figure which left the monarchy trailing in their wake with just £400 million.
The study found that Britain’s apple crop was very reliant (85%) on bees to grow while nearly half the strawberry crop needs the bees' intervention to be harvested – two crops which were worth £200 million to the economy three years ago.
The importance of bees to food growth is being highlighted at a time when the British government is considering whether or not it should review the banning of neonicotinoid pesticides. At present farmers are not allowed to use this because of the impact it could have on bee colony numbers.
Over 360,000 people have signed a petition urging the Environment Minister not to accede to the request to allow use of the chemical on oilseed rape crops this year. 38 Degrees campaigner, Megan Bental, warned that any decline in the population of bees would have serious affects on the rural economy. She said that the government would have to keep bee-killing pesticides off farms if future generations were to taste homegrown Bramley apples or strawberries.
The director of the Centre for Agri-Environmental Research (CAER) at the University of Reading, Professor Simon Potts said it was critical to protect as wide a range of bees as possible.