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Go Organic: What's Good for Bees Is Good for Gardeners

For related articles and more information, please visit OCA's Organic Transitions page and our Honey Bee Health page.

One of the younger couples on our allotment site have been given permission to keep bees.

It's good news for them and it's good news for the rest of us.

They should get some top-quality honey and we should get some extra pollinators working for us.

There was an interesting report in getreading last week from the University of Reading on the shortage of honeybees across Europe.

Scientists at the Centre for Agri-Environmental Research estimate that Britain has only one quarter of the bees needed to pollinate the crops being grown by farmers.

Shortage of honeybees may hamper crop production across Europe

At the moment the shortfall is being made good by wild pollinators such as solitary bees, bumblebees and hoverflies.

But Professor Simon Potts, who led the study, is concerned there is no protection in place for these unpaid helpers.

He said: "We face a catastrophe in future years unless we act now. Wild pollinators need greater protection.

"They are the unsung heroes of the countryside, providing a critical link in the food chain for humans and doing work for free that would otherwise cost British farmers £1.8 billion to replace."

We tend to take our honey bees for granted, but they are increasingly under threat.       
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