Why is beekeeping important

Pollination of our fruit and vegetable crops

Insects are pollinators of most fruit and many vegetable crops in the UK. Most pollination work of crops is conducted by bees. As well as the honey bee, bumble bees and solitary bees are extremely important. Other insects such as hoverflies and butterflies are also vital contributors.

How important are honey bees  for crop pollination?

In strawberries, the honey bee is the most important pollination insect – although as in all crops other insect species are also important.

What happens if we have no pollinators?

Quite simply, the yield of nearly all our fruit crops would collapse. For consumers this would mean most fruit would be unavailable in the shops.

So why do we need beekeepers …

There are simply not enough wild pollinators - bees, hoverflies, butterflies to pollinate the nation’s fruit crops. Wild pollinators numbers have been in decline, principally due to habitat destruction over the last century.

Therefore beekeepers have a key role to play, to bolster the honeybee population to help to secure the nation’s fruit crop.

Read more about beekeeping, keeping bees, collecting honey and how a honey bee swarm is managed.

Percentage of visits made by different pollinators to flowers of strawberry (data from Garratt M.P.D., et al., (2014) and Garratt M.P.D. (2013). Extract from Sustainable Pollination Services for UK Crops. University of Reading. Ref 1

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Reference 1: Sustainable Pollination Services for UK Crops A BBSRC funded study Centre for Food Security, University of Reading

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A honey bee feeding on and pollinating apple blossom.