Keeping Britain Buzzing

24th July 2014

Bees are under threat like never before, with their numbers declining. There is strong evidence that neonicotinoid pesticides are involved in the deaths. Another major factor is intensive agriculture – monocultures and the widespread use of pesticide and herbicide contribute to a loss of habitat and food for bees.

Organic farming, by contrast, encourages higher levels of wildlife – including bees – on organic farms. The Soil Association has been working to highlight these problems and protect bees for several years. The Soil Association's Keep Britain Buzzing campaign aims to highlight the threats bees face and encourages us all to take action to protect bees.

In 2013 the EU decided to suspend the use of three neonicotinoid pesticides. This is great news for bees as Europe has responded to the scientific evidence that neonicotinoid pesticides are linked to the decline in bee populations. Find out more about the EU suspension here. Whilst this is a fantastic step forward in the fight to save the bees, there is plenty of work to do protecting and rebuilding bee populations:

  • We want all neonicotinoid pesticides, widely used in agriculture and domestic gardens to be banned
  • We want to promote bee-friendly organic farming and show that everyone can make a difference by simply changing their shopping habits.
  • We want to help bee populations recover by ensuring there are plenty of domestic and agricultural bee-friendly habitats around the UK

Take action to Keep Britain Buzzing

  1. Support the Soil Association's work and protect bees by donating to the campaign today and they'll send you a campaign badge and free packet of bee-friendly organic phacelia seeds so you can create a haven for bees in your own garden.
  2. Buy organic food. Organic farmers don’t use neonicotinoid pesticides. They also have more complex crop rotations, which means that there is a greater diversity of plants for bees to forage on. Supporting organic farmers at the checkout is an everyday action with a big impact.
  3. Don't use neonicotinoid pesticides. The EU has decided to suspend three types of neonicotinoid pesticides but there are still other types available that appear in a range of common garden products. See here for a list of products to avoid.
  4. Use organic techniques in your own garden. Use a wide variety of plants in your garden, and don’t be too tidy. Leave wild flowering plants in place, and ivy is a particularly important source of late season winter food for bees. Find out more here.
  5. Take up beekeeping. If you've got the space, then keeping your own colony of bees is a great way of boosting bee numbers. There are some excellent courses available from the Soil Association

Source: Soil Association. Find out more at
Keeping Britain Buzzing image #1