Honey is a treat many enjoy, whether in tea, on toast or on its own! But bees are behind a lot more than this golden nectar, and the recent bee population decline statistics are a worthy warning to understand.

UK Bee Population Decline Statistics

  1. There are over 250 species of bee in the UK, including the honeybee and bumblebees. (WWF)
  2. The UK supports around 10% of the world’s bumblebee species. (Natural History Museum)
  3. The bad news is that since 1900, we’ve lost 13 species of bees in the UK. (Friends of the Earth)
  4. Currently, 35 species of bee are under threat of extinction, and there are currently no laws to protect bees. (Friends of the Earth)
  5. Managed honeybee hives in England declined by 50% between 1985 and 2005. (RSB)
  6. The most significant bee population decline for honeybees has happened in Northern Britain, with a fall of 55%, while species in Southern Britain have fallen by 25%. (UK Centre for Ecology & Hydrology)
  7. There are around 38.000 beekeepers and about 220,000 hives in the UK. (UK Centre for Ecology & Hydrology)
  8. Bees are essential for UK crops; they provide an estimated £690 million to agriculture through increased yields. (RSB)
  9. UK farmers would need to spend an extra £1.8 billion a year to pollinate crops without bees. (Friends of the Earth)
  10. Of around 100 crop species, honeybees pollinate a whopping 70, including fruits, vegetables and nuts. (Revive a Bee)
  11. Different bee species are better at pollinating specific crops, which is why studies suggest you need to maintain various species for pollination purposes. (Friends of the Earth)
  12. Since the 1930s, the UK has lost an estimated 97% of wildflower meadows linked to the continuous decline of wild pollinators, such as bees. (British Bee Coalition)
  13. However, some groups of wild bees have done better, with 22 species doing well and increasing their range from 1980 to 2013. (New Scientist)
  14. Carder bee (Bombus ruderarius) has declined by 42%, while mining bee (Andrena cineraria) has increased its range by fivefold. (New Scientist)
  15. Overall, there has been a 55% decline among species associated with uplands, whereas crop pollinators have increased by 12% on average. (Nature)

Global Bee Population Decline

  1. On a global scale, we’ve lost one-quarter of the 20,000 global bee species since 1990. (Independent)
  2. One in ten of Europe’s bee and butterfly species are threatened with extinction. (European Parliament)
  3. In the US, 2.96 million honeybee colonies have died since the 1940s. (FAO)
  4. Studies show that out of all the bee species’ populations, 7.7% are declining, 12.6% are stable, and 0.7% are increasing; but for the majority (79%), this data remains unknown. (Europa)
  5. Extinction rates for bees are 100 to 1,000 times higher than expected due to human impacts. (FAO)
  6. In 2020, India had the most beehives totalling around 12.2 million, followed by China’s nine million. (Statista)
  7. Crop pollination by bees is worth £120 billion globally. (University of Reading)
  8. In Europe, 78% of all wildflower species and 84% of crop species rely on pollinators, including bees. (Blue World Gardener)
  9. On a global scale, 5% to 8% of crop production is linked to animal pollination. (European Parliament.
  10. There are around 100 commercial enterprises breeding bees globally, although the majority are in the US and Europe. (FAO)