Pollinators, such as bees and butterflies, visit flowers to harvest their nectar and pollen. They play a crucial role in flower reproduction, transferring pollen and fertilising flowers as they go from plant to plant.

Recent data shows pollinator numbers to be in decline, causing global concern. This is especially worrying for agriculture as at least 1/3 of the total volume of agricultural produce relies on pollination. This includes such everyday foods as fruits, nuts, beans and coffee. 

Insect pollinators also play a crucial part in wild food chains. An estimated 94% of the flowering plants in tropical regions cannot be pollinated any other way. This makes insect pollinators incredibly valuable, worth an estimated global value of 265bn Euros.

The declines are due to a wide range of threats including diseases, invasive species, habitat loss and climate change. The loss of 97% of the UK's wildflowers since the 1930s has made two bees locally extinct.  Central Europe, Northern Europe, the United States and Asia are all reporting losses. To reverse these declines managers must use holistic approaches that address all of these threats. 

CEH work on pollinators


The impacts of neonicotinoids on honeybees

Bee visiting a flower
Most thorough review of pollinator science to date
Into the Blue
Last week scientists from across the Centre for Ecology & Hydrology took part in NERC’s ‘Into the Blue’ public engagement and networking event held at Manchester Airport Runway Visitors Park.
Borrowdale, Lake District. Photo by Andy Sier
Integrating data, models and scientific knowledge on natural capital to support research and decision-making
State of Nature 2013 and State of Nature 2016 report covers
Trends and biases in biological records
Bombus lapidarius on oilseed rape, photo by Lucy Hulmes
Dr Nick Isaac reports from behind the scenes of the new wild bee / neonicotinoid study
Venus's looking-glass (Legousia hybrida)
Rare Arable Flowers app now available