Bee numbers are declining. Our native wild bees (especially bumblebees and solitary bees) are disappearing. Many factors have led to this, including urban development, an increase in intensive farming and the use of pesticides. This has resulted in bees losing their natural habitats and the diverse food sources that they need to survive.
35 of the UK's bee species are now facing the threat of extinction. Conservation and action is now vital.
Bees are essential in the production of food through pollination. They are responsible for pollinating many of the crops that we eat, such as fruit plants and trees, vegetables, coffee and crops that we grow for multiple uses, like rapeseed; where the crop is grown for the production of food, fuel, soap and lubricants.
It would cost farmers billions of pounds each year to pollinate these crops if we didn't have the help of bees.
Food prices would rise and we would risk losing some of the varieties of fruit and vegetables that we enjoy.
Bees also play a huge part in supporting other wildlife, by promoting growth of wildflowers and the animals and birds that find shelter and food within them.
There are around 270 species of bee in the UK and more than 20,000 in the world. Some live in colonies whilst others are solitary. Some species live in holes in the ground, walls and in trees and some live in hives managed by beekeepers...
Known for their large, furry bodies, they live in social colonies, similar to honeybees.
They usually make their nests in holes underground. The colony may contain between 50 and 500 bees.
There are 25 species of bumblebee in the UK.
Probably the most widely
recognized bee, they live in social
colonies, usually managed by bee keepers in hives. They make
honey and beeswax and have a
hierarchy of a queen, female worker bees and male drones.
One large hive may contain up to 60,000 bees.
There is one species of honey bee
in the UK.
Solitary bee species tend to nest on their own and make their nests in existing holes or cavities, such as holes in walls, banks, cliff faces, bee hotels or dead wood. Others nest in the ground (mining bees).
There are just under 250 species of solitary bee in the UK.
Honey Bee (worker)
Common Carder Bumblebee
Honey Bee (worker)
In the UK we have lost around 97% of our wildflower meadows since the Second World War, mainly due to farming and urbanisation.
Bees and other pollinating insects vitally need these flower rich areas for shelter and food. By sowing areas of wildflower seeds and growing other pollinator friendly plants and flowers in our gardens, we can help to replace some of the lost habitats and give bees and other beneficial insects plenty of the pollen, nectar and shelter that they need to survive.
Urban areas especially need more places for bees to thrive. Homes without a garden or outside area can help by planting a window box with pollinator friendly herbs or flowers.
Urbee sells a selection of organically grown herbs and plants at craft fairs and events This year we are growing a selection of annual and perennial plants. We aim to grow different plants which will provide nectar and pollen most of the year round as different bees are active throughout the year.
Details can be found on our Facebook and Instagram pages.
Ashy Mining Bee
Bumblebee foraging in wildflowers
Bumblebee collecting pollen
Bumblebee collecting pollen in
baskets on her legs