This may sound familiar to most of you who love being outdoors: you're sitting outside in your garden on a beautiful Summer day and you're enjoying good food and drinks, until one or more bees show up and keep buzzing and buzzing around you. In Western Europe however, this situation is happening less often than a couple of years ago…
In recent years there has been a huge decline in the number of bees in Western Europe and to scientists it's not exactly clear why the small insects die. The animals may suffer from the pesticides used in agriculture, but it can also be that the case that the bees are disappearing because of a number of viruses or mites.
The study is part of a larger study of all insects that play a role in the pollination of plants. It will also include butterflies, bumblebees and moths. All of these animals also showed a sharp decline in Western Europe, the bee population has declined at least 25 percent, several species of bumblebees are extinct and also the number of butterflies has shown a drastic decline.
Wild flowers, such as red clover, will also be included in this study. These plants also have shown a decline and that could be caused by the fact that there are less insects to pollinate them. Around the British cities of Reading, Edinburgh, Bristol and Leeds more flowers will be planted to see if that also increases the number of bugs.
Although some people may see bees only as nuisance, the disappearance of these insects can cause major economic damage that can reach hundreds of millions of dollars. This is, for instance, because of plants from farmers that are no longer pollinated by bees.