Pesticides Crashes Bee Hives Population
14% of England’s honeybee colonies died out over the winter Reuters

A report from the British Beekeepers Association (BBKA) claims that an "unacceptably" high percentage of England's honeybee colonies died out over winter.

The annual colony survey showed that more than 14% of the country's honeybee colonies failed to survive the cold winter.

It is a much higher level than the 9.6% of bee colonies which died out in the winter of 2013/14. The BBKA is quoted by the Guardian as stating that the losses continue to be "unacceptably high levels and are still in excess of what might be considered normal losses of 5-10%".

"Survey respondents cited starvation (including isolation starvation), queen failure, weak colonies and a number of beekeeping husbandry aspects as possible reasons for colony losses. Weather received little comment though this undoubtedly plays a role year by year," the BBKA said in a statement.

The west of England was the worst affected where there was an 18% loss over the colder months, while northern England saw the smallest drop at 11%.

However, the figure is still well below the 19.3% average of winter bee colony deaths since the survey started eight years ago, although this figure was massively driven up by particularly high death rates in 2007 (30.5%) and 2012/13 (22.8%). Nonetheless, the bee colonies bounce back over the summer and have the potential to double in number in the middle of the year.

Not only are bees critical to the environment, they are also one of the UK's most lucrative contributors to the economy, earning the country £651m a year due to their pollination of crops.