Home > Publications > Fact Sheets > Short Fact Sheet on Bees and Pollinators
  • There are over 20,000 species of bee of which the domestic honey bee is just one. They are all pollinators and are responsible for the majority of crop pollination. [1]
  • Most pollinators are wild but a few species of bees can be managed, such as honeybees (Apis mellifera, Apis cerana), some bumblebees and a few solitary bees. [1]
  • Flies, wasps, moths, beetles and bats, to name a few are also vital pollinators, as they each pollinate different types of crops.
  •  The bee and other pollinators are symbols of nature’s giving, cooperation, diversity and the symbiotic relationships necessary for life to continue.
  • Pollinators produce one third of the food we eat.
  • Honeybees  pollinate 71 of the 100 most common crops that account for 90% of the world’s food supply. [1]
  • According to the FAO, 75% of the leading types of global food crops are reliant on pollinators.[1]
  •  Globally, the contribution of bees to crop production has been estimated at $200 billion.[1]
  • They give us food, we give them food. This is mutuality, the law of return, the real circular economy. Without pollinators, most plants would not reproduce, and without plant reproduction, our food supply would be threatened.[1]

The Problem:

  • Changing land use due to agricultural intensification and urban expansion is one of a number of key drivers of pollinator loss, especially when natural areas, that provide foraging and nesting resources, are degraded or disappear.[1]
  • Pesticides, as defined by the FAO are, ‘any substance, or mixture of substances, of chemical or biological ingredients intended for repelling, destroying or controlling any pest, or regulating plant growth’. The term is generically used to address all the substances that interfere with, obstacle or destroy living organisms, be they microorganisms, virus, moulds, fungi, insects, “weeds” and especially pollinators.[2]
  • These chemicals bioaccumulate, leading to long term poisoning of bee and human bodies.[2]
  • Industrial food systems have destroyed the biodiversity of the planet both through the spread of monocultures, and through the use of toxics and poisons  such as pesticide, herbicide and chemical fertilizers which are killing bees, butterflies, insects and birds, leading to the sixth mass extinction. [2],[3]
  • Pollinators have been killed because of high dose super toxins in Bt crops, such as Bt cotton.[3]
  • The abundance, diversity and health of pollinators is also threatened by a number of other drivers including a changing climate, invasive species and emerging diseases and pathogens.[1]
  • The global collapse of insect numbers is a threat to almost every other species on the planet as insects act as primary food sources for thousands of animal species.
  • Corporations are now pushing notions of robotic pollination where  robotic, drone-like bees are engineered to pollinate plants or the idea of creating genetically modified bees that are supposedly resistant to pesticides. Far from solving the root problem of a broken industrial agricultural model, these false solutions have unacceptable ecological costs, is economically and morally unviable, generating massive pollution and disposal costs. [1],[7]

Solutions and Actions:

  • Biodiverse farms act as sanctuaries for all types of pollinators, as different pollinators are needed for different crops.
  • Biodiversity of plants helps regulate pests through pest-predator relationships between insects. [3]
  • The Law of Return, of giving back, has ensured that societies create and maintain the web of life, including bees and can be supported by biodiversity over thousands of years. Food security depends on protecting the bees. [1]
  • Healthy populations of wild pollinators increase yields significantly. This is only maintained by cultivating biodiverse cropping.[1]
  • Improving habitat diversity within the landscape, and the inclusion of non- agricultural habitats have been shown to mitigate pollinator loss, boost pollinator numbers and improve ecosystem services. [1]
  • In November 2019, a wide alliance of NGOs, agricultural initiatives, grassroots movements, beekeeping associations and scientists from all over Europe, supported by a network of Civil Society organisations joined forces in the European’s Citizens Initiative (ECI) “Save bees and Farmers”. Their aim is to obtain a paradigm shift in European agriculture which enables bees and farmers to thrive in a healthy environment. [4]
  • Landscape elements such as trees, wildflower strips and hedges serve as habitats where insects, birds, lizards and many other animals forage, breed and find shelter, among them beneficial ones that pollinate crops or fight pests.Landscape elements such as trees, wildflower strips and hedges serve as habitats where insects, birds, lizards and many other animals forage, breed and find shelter, among them beneficial ones that pollinate crops or fight pests. [5]
  • Promote the planting of bee-attractive leguminous varieties, such as lentils, chickpeas, beans and so on, to benefit biodiversity, soils and farmers. In pesticide-free agriculture, bee-attractive leguminous plants play a vital role: they provide feed for beneficial insects while at the same time enriching soils in nitrogen, thus naturally fertilizing soils and promoting living soils. [5]
  • Grasslands are important habitats for bees and pollinators. Intensely used and overused grasslands constrain feed for bees as well as other insects, and reduce ecosystem diversity. Extensive management of grassland, without pesticides and chemical fertilizers is a measure that can quickly enhance biodiversity.[5]
  • Together as diverse species and diverse cultures and through poison free organic food and farming, which offer climate solutions and rejuvenate biodiversity, we have the creative power to stop the sixth mass extinction and ecological catastrophe. [6]
  1. The Future of our Daily Bread: Regeneration or Collapse
  1. Food for Health Manifesto
  1. The Future of Food – Farming with Nature, Cultivating the Future
  1. Save bees and farmers – European citizens’ Initiative
  1. Annex to the European Citizens’ Initiative “Save bees and farmers! Towards a Bee-friendly agriculture for a healthy environment
  1. Poison-free Food and Farming 2030
  1. Robotic bees for crop pollination: Why drones cannot replace biodiversity

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