The plight of the bee

Bees are under threat like never before, with their numbers declining. There is strong evidence that neonicotinoids – a class of pesticide first used in agriculture in the mid 1990s at exactly the time when mass bee disappearances started occurring – are involved in the deaths. 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.

Keep Britain buzzing: ways you can help

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. We want to see all neonicotinoids banned, and promote better farming to help ensure the health and future of our bees. You can get involved and take action today.

Take action

  • 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 decided to suspend three types of neonicotinoid pesticides but there are still other types available. These pesticides appear in a range of common garden products. Avoid them and urge your local retailer to stop stocking them. Click here for a list of products and letter writing hints.
  • 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.
  • 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. 

Find out more

Our site contains much more information on the threat's facing bees, so to find out more browse the following pages.


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