Bees are under threat once more. The UK government has again given permission for sugar beet farmers to use the banned pesticide thiamethoxam in England.
Thiamethoxam is a neonicotinoid, a type of pesticide which was banned for agricultural use in the UK and the European Union in 2018 due to the devastating impact it has on bees, our crucial pollinators.
Neonicotinoids have been shown to attack bees’ ability to navigate, gather food and reproduce, putting their colonies at risk of collapse.
The government says these pesticides are needed to prevent the yellows virus, which is spread by aphids, from destroying a significant fraction of the sugar beet crop.
However, the Health and Safety Executive and the UK Government’s own expert committee on pesticides disagree – they say the requirements for neonicotinoid use haven’t been met, and they are also concerned about damage it poses to wildlife in rivers, as well as bees.
Join us in making your voice heard – sign the petition to save bees from deadly pesticides.
Why do we need to save bees?
Bees are essential for our survival, but their numbers have shrunk by 33% in Britain in the past decade alone.
And it’s not just a wildlife disaster – along with other insects like moths and hoverflies, bees pollinate around a third of the food we eat. They also pollinate the plants we use to make our clothes.
Pesticide use, and the loss of wildflower-rich habitats, mean that bee populations have fallen over the last 50 years. We urgently need to stop and reverse this decline.
What is Ecotricity doing to save bees?
Helping to save bees was one of the founding aims of our green mobile phone service, Ecotalk + RSPB. Under our unique partnership, we use the money from our customers’ phone bills to buy back land for nature and save wildlife.
In July 2019, Ecotalk customers helped the RSPB buy Fairburn Tips, an old dumping ground for coal mining waste in West Yorkshire.
Today, it’s a perfect habitat for bees and other pollinators, with newly-introduced heather taking root to create a lowland heath habitat.
Since the Fairburn Tips purchase, Ecotalk + RSPB customers have helped to buy an extension to the Berney Marshes Nature Reserve – a vital home for migratory waterfowl and breeding waders in Norfolk.
Together, we soon hope to save Horse Common in the New Forest, as well as Wast Neaps on the Island of Yell, Shetland, home to skuas, merlin, snipe and otters.
All this land will be restored and given back to nature, helping plants, pollinators, birds and mammals thrive in a diverse habitat.
B-Lines for bees
The loss of wildflower habitats is a serious problem for the survival of bees and other pollinators, as they’re unable to move across the countryside as our climate and landscape changes. In fact, it’s predicted that 40-70% of species could go extinct if a solution isn’t found.
The B-Lines project is an initiative by our partners, Buglife, creating thousands of ‘insect pathways’ running through the country, along which they’re planting wildflower-rich habitat stepping stones to link existing wildlife areas together.
In this way, bees and other pollinators can move around the countryside once again, making it easier for them to cope with changes in climate.
The B-Lines project is aiming to restore at least 150,000 hectares of flower-rich habitat, and everyone’s invited to play their part – see the initiative website for full details.
How can you help save bees?
First, sign the petition to stop this deadly neonicotinoid pesticide being used once more.
Second, plant a diverse range of flowering plants that come into bloom at different times, so there’s always food available for bees.
Third, switch your mobile phone network to Ecotalk + RSPB. We’ll use money from your bills to buy back land for nature, restoring habitats for all kinds of wildlife, including bees.
Ecotalk + RSPB runs on the EE network, which offers the best coverage in Britain, and you can keep your old number when you switch. Our bundles start at just £5.50 per month – and we power it all with 100% deep green energy from the wind, the sun and the sea.
Visit ecotalk.co.uk to find out more.
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