UK Pollinators in Crisis

The ‘Save the Bees’ discourse has been increasing in the last few decades, raising awareness of the importance of pollinators and their nationwide decline across the UK.

What are Pollinators?

Pollinators are species that move pollen between plants, enabling them to reproduce. They might be birds, bats, slugs, lizards, or insects, but our most common pollinators in the UK include butterflies, flies, wasps, bees, and beetles.

Pollinators are responsible for a third of our food crops in the UK, and are also vital for the survival of other wild plants that support our wildlife.

Honeybees are only responsible for pollinating between 5-15% of the UK’s insect-pollinated crops. The remaining 85-95% rely on wild pollinators – moths, butterflies, hoverflies, and beetles. These insects pollinate £690 million worth of crops annually.

Why are Pollinators Under Threat?

Britain now sits in the bottom 10% of countries globally for biodiversity. We have only half of our natural wildlife and fauna left from before the industrial revolution.

This huge reduction in biodiversity impacts our pollinators. Three bumblebee species have now become extinct, and the European Red List for Bees has reported that 1 in 10 species of wild bee face extinction. There has been a 60% reduction in the population of flying insects in the last 20 years.

These declines are directly linked to the recent changes in the way we farm in the UK. The intensification of agriculture, urbanisation, and heavy use of pesticides and herbicides, have led to destroyed wildlife habitats.

What are 4th Corner doing to Help?

4th Corner have been offering Biodiversity Packs to all of our clients since 2012 to encourage wildlife populations to increase, including bees and pollinators.

As well as including bird boxes, bug hotels, and native plants, our Biodiversity Packs can be built bespoke for each site. Previous installations have included wildflower meadows, orchards, and native tree planting to provide food and shelter for pollinators and create robust wildlife corridors.

You can also encourage pollinators in your own garden by following these simple steps:

  1. Plant for pollinators: Grow more nectar-rich flowers, shrubs and trees to provide for pollinators throughout the year. 
  2. Let your garden grow wild: Leaving patches of land to grow wild let wildflowers grow and make great nesting and feeding sites. 
  3. Put away the pesticide: They can harm pollinators and many other beneficial invertebrates. Consider alternatives and only use pesticides as a last resort.
  4. Leave the lawnmower: Cut your grass less often, and remove cuttings to let plants flower. 
  5. Build a bee hotel and avoid disturbing or destroying nesting or hibernating insects in grass margins, bare soil, hedgerows, trees, dead wood or walls.

For more information and resources, visit the Bumblebee Conservation Trust and The Wildlife Trusts.