Widespread losses of pollinating insects revealed across Britain

Wild bees and hoverflies lost from a quarter of the places they were found in 1980, study shows

A widespread loss of pollinating insects in recent decades has been revealed by the first national survey in Britain, which scientists say “highlights a fundamental deterioration” in nature.

The analysis of 353 wild bee and hoverfly species found the insects have been lost from a quarter of the places they were found in 1980. A third of the species now occupy smaller ranges, with just one in 10 expanding their extent, and the average number of species found in a square kilometre fell by 11.

Pollinating insects are vital to human food security, as three-quarters of crops depend on them. They are also crucial to other wildlife, both as food and as pollinators of wild plants. “The declines in Britain can be viewed as a warning about the health of our countryside,” said Gary Powney at the Centre for Ecology and Hydrology in Wallingford, who led the research.

small common blue butterfly

Prof Dave Goulson, at the University of Sussex and not part of the latest research, said: Previous studies have described declines in UK butterflies, moths, carabid beetles, bees and hoverflies – this new study confirms that declines in insects are ongoing.”

Read the full article in the Guardian here


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