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Commenting on new research in the journal Nature, which has found that two diseases affecting honeybees are spilling over into wild bumblebees, Friends of the Earth’s Nature Campaigner, Paul de Zylva, said:

"This is yet another blow to Britain’s under-threat bee populations.

"The Government’s forthcoming action plan, aimed at protecting the nation’s bees, must make disease prevention a top priority - along with pesticide reduction and better habitat management.”


Notes to editors:

1. Disease associations between honeybees and bumblebees as a threat to wild pollinators | Nature
2. Friends of the Earth’s Bee Cause campaign has succeeded in persuading the Government to adopt a comprehensive National Bee Action Plan. In June 2013, ‘Bees Minister’ Lord De Mauley, announced the Government’s intention to draw up a National Pollinator Strategy.
3. The Bee Cause now aims to ensure the Strategy is ambitious enough to reverse bee decline in the UK.
4. UK bee populations are declining at an alarming rate with a big drop in managed honey-bee colonies and solitary bees, as well as two species of bumblebee becoming extinct.
5. Without bees, food prices will rise – pollination of UK crops by bees and other insects is worth over £600 million a year. It would cost the UK farming industry £1.8 billion to pollinate their crops by hand.

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