The plight of 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 and that they are impacting on other species such as birds, earthworms and aquatic insects too. Another major factor is intensive agriculture – monoculture's 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 EU introduced a temporary ban on three types of neonicontinoids in 2013 but this is not enough, we want to see a permanent ban on all neonicotinoid pesticides to help protect our bees and precious wildlife. We are working with farmers on the practical solutions to reduce pesticide use, to promote organic methods and the huge benefits to wildlife they can bring.
- Support our campaign to ban neonicotinoid pesticides for good. Become a member of the Soil Association and you'll be supporting our work to tackle bee-damaging pesticides and promote wildlife-friendly food and farming. Join the Soil Association.
- Buy organic food. Organic farmers don’t use neonicitinoid 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.
- Don't use neonicotinoid pesticides. The EU has suspended three types of neonicotinoid pesticides but there are still other types available that can appear in a range of common garden products. See here for a list of products to avoid.
- Use organic techniques in your own garden. Garden pesticides also have the potential to do damage to bees, and good rotations give an extra diversity of flowering crops. 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 about organic growing techniques.
- 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. Find out more about beekeeping courses.
Find out more
Our site contains much more information on the threat's facing bees, find out more on the following pages.