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Its hard to believe that something so tiny could play such an important environmental role but the fact of the matter is bees are essential to our environment and our economy.

Bees, along with other pollinators such as butterflies, moths, wasps and beetles play a vital role in pollinating the vast majority of our fruit and vegetables. Without them it would cost UK farmers somewhere in the region of £1.8 billion a year to pollinate the crops themselves.

Take bees out of the equation and the environment and our economy is quickly in trouble.

Over the past few years a number of factors such as the use of pesticides, climate change and the loss of natural habitats have contributed to a serious decline in our bee population.

Since 1930 the UK has lost 97% of its flower-rich meadows with hedgerows and chalk grassland also being depleted over the same period. Our wonderful British weather certainly hasn’t helped with a long run of wet summers making the job of finding pollen even harder.

There was at one point 27 different species of bees in the UK, 3 of those species are now extinct and many others including the wild honey bee are dangerously close to extinction.

The numbers do not look good but its not all bad news. A number of organisation such as Friends of the Earth are working to create bee-friendly spaces across the country, as well as lobbying for tougher regulation on the use of pesticides.

Aside from the organisations, replenishing the bees natural habitat is something we can all get involved in. Incorporating more wildflowers in to our gardens immediately provides food and shelter for the bee population and slowly begins to reconnect their natural habitats.

Further information regarding Friends of the Earth and their work is available via their website.