Keeping Britain Buzzing

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In March 2014 the Department for the Environment and Rural Affairs (Defra) announced it was holding a public consultation on its 'national pollinator strategy' – its policy plan for protecting the health of bees and other pollinators.We welcome the initiative but think it needs to radically strengthened, for example to be stronger in its support for organic farming with its proven benefits for wildlife including pollinators. The consultation is open until the beginning of May.

Save the bee

Bees are under threat like never before, with their numbers declining. There is strong evidence that neonicotinoid pesticides are involved in the deaths. Another major factor is intensive agriculture – monocultures and the widespread use of pesticide and herbicide contribute to a loss of habitat and food for bees. Organic farming, by contrast, encourages higher levels of wildlife – including bees – on organic farms. The Soil Association has been working to highlight these problems and protect bees for several years. Our Keep Britain Buzzing campaign aims to highlight the threats bees face and encourages us all to take action to protect bees.

In 2013 the EU decided to suspend the use of three neonicotinoid pesticides. This is great news for bees as Europe has responded to the scientific evidence that neonicotinoid pesticides are linked to the decline in bee populations. Find out more about the EU suspension here. Whilst this is a fantastic step forward in the fight to save the bees, there is plenty of work to do protecting and rebuilding bee populations:

  • We want all neonicotinoid pesticides, widely used in agriculture and domestic gardens to be banned
  • We want to promote bee-friendly organic farming and show that everyone can make a difference by simply changing their shopping habits.
  • We want to help bee populations recover by ensuring there are plenty of domestic and agricultural bee-friendly habitats around the UK

Take action to Keep Britain Buzzing

  1. Keep in touch with the campaign and our wider work - enter your details below to receive our regular e-newsletter.
     
  2. Support our work and protect bees by donating to our campaign today and we'll send you a campaign badge and free packet of bee-friendly organic phacelia seeds so you can create a haven for bees in your own garden.
     
  3. Buy organic food. Organic farmers don’t use neonicotinoid pesticides. They also have more complex crop rotations, which means that there is a greater diversity of plants for bees to forage on. Supporting organic farmers at the checkout is an everyday action with a big impact.
     
  4. Keep Britain Buzzing apronDon't use neonicotinoid pesticides. The EU has decided to suspend three types of neonicotinoid pesticides but there are still other types available that appear in a range of common garden products. See here for a list of products to avoid.
     
  5. Use organic techniques in your own garden. Use a wide variety of plants in your garden, and don’t be too tidy. Leave wild flowering plants in place, and ivy is a particularly important source of late season winter food for bees. Find out more here.
     
  6. Take up beekeeping. If you've got the space, then keeping your own colony of bees is a great way of boosting bee numbers. There are some excellent courses available in our Practical courses section.
     
  7. Join the Soil Association. By becoming a member of the Soil Association charity you are helping to fund our campaigning and policy work on this, and a range of other important issues like food security and GM. Join the Soil Association today and if you donate £5 a month or more we'll send you an organic cotton Keep Britain Buzzing apron.

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Become an Organic Wildlife Warrior and we'll send you a free badge set and apron

How to control pests in a bee friendly way

Ben Raskin explains how to control the top five pests targeted by neonicotinoids in a bee friendly way. How to control pests in a bee friendly way

Why organic farming is good for bees

Find out more about how organic farming provides a rich habitat and haven for bees and other pollinators. Why organic farming is good for bees

Why ban neonicotinoids?

Find out more about the harmful effects of neonicotinoids, and why we want them banned. Why ban neonicotinoids?