In the UK 430,000 hectares of gardens could be utilized to help pollinators such as bees. The image shows a Mining bee
‘Almost everybody over the age of about 50 years old can remember a time when any long-distance drive in summer resulted in a windscreen so splattered with dead insects that it was necessary to stop occasionally to scrub them off.
‘Driving country lanes at night in high summer would reveal a blizzard of moths in the headlights.
‘Today, drivers in Western Europe and North America are freed from the chore of washing their windscreen. It seems unlikely that this can be entirely explained by the improved aerodynamics of modern vehicles.’
Butterflies are also suffering the effects with a 77 percent in the decline of butterflies who require specialist habitats since the 1970s and a 46 percent fall in generalist species of a butterfly who are hardier to human activity.
Species of the animal who rely on the presence of flying insects for food have also struggled, such as the spotted flycatcher bird, whose populations have drastically fallen by 93 percent since 1967.
He states that today’s children will grow up in a world with fewer birds, flowers, and insects than we have now – and will be told of a time when hedgehogs were once common.
Scientists believe the is in the midst of the ‘sixth mass extinction event’.
The report claims public perception of biodiversity loss needs to shift its focus from larger animals – such as the northern white rhino or birds such as the dodo- to insects and smaller vertebrates such as fish, amphibians, reptiles, mammals, and birds, whose populations fell by 60 percent between 1970 and 2014.
WHY ARE BEES UNDER THREAT?
The threat to bees includes loss of habitat, including pollution and pesticide use and climate change.
Habitat loss, fragmentation, and degradation
Habitat loss, fragmentation, and degradation is generally thought to be the most important factor driving bee declines through the reduction of food and nesting resources available to pollinators.
In the UK an estimated 97 percent of unimproved grassland was lost in England and Wales between 1932 and 1984 (Fuller 1987).
These losses are as a result of changes in agricultural methods such as re-seeding, intensive tillage, drainage, and use of fertilizers and herbicides as well as the development of previously species-rich grassland.
This loss of unimproved flower-rich grassland leads removes habitats for bees.
Pesticides and pollution
Neonicotinoids are neuro-active chemicals similar to nicotine that have proved to be highly effective at protecting crops from pests, especially aphids and root-eating grubs.
They can either be sprayed on leaves or coated on seeds, in which case they infiltrate every part of the growing plant.
Years of research have shown that under controlled conditions the chemicals are toxic to honey bees and bumblebees, causing brain damage that can affect learning and memory and impair their ability to forage for nectar and pollen.
The chemicals are a key battleground in the environmental movement – with campaigners demanding a ‘complete and permanent’ ban on the pesticides as they are suspected to be harmful to bees.
Alterations in insect distributions in the UK are already being seen in response to recent climate change.
Climate change may also aid the natural colonization of new species, as has already been seen in Britain with bees such as Grey-backed mining bee, Early colletes, Ivy colletes, and Variable nomad.
Climate change, it also has the potential to decrease bee population abundance, shift habitat ranges and ultimately increase extinction risk,
These effects are worse for specialist or species found in single habitats, and small, isolated populations.
Climate change is widely predicted to increase extreme events such as summer droughts, flooding, and storms, all of which could directly impact bees in the East of England.