Wimbledon strawberry prices would almost double without bees

June 29, 2012

(Phys.org) -- Wimbledon fans were today warned they would face price rises on their strawberries of 84% if bees disappeared, according to new research.

This price increase would mean forking out £4.14 for a 10-strawberry punnet at the famous tennis tournament.

A report produced by the University of Reading for environment charity Friends of the Earth also reveals that insecticide use on has risen by an incredible 295% between 2005 and 2010, increasing the risk to bees.

The new data comes from research by the University of Reading on behalf of the charity's campaign The Bee Cause. In recent years many bee species have been declining, placing our food supply and economy under threat. Research revealed that without bees, it would cost the UK at least £1.8billion every year to hand-pollinate crops.

Strawberries are highly reliant on bees for pollination. Good quality commercially-grown strawberries require the combination of solitary bees and managed bees to pollinate the fruit. Research also suggests that pollination by bees improves the quality, taste and nutrient levels in our fruit and vegetables. One-fifth of the vitamin C in our diet comes from insect-pollinated crops such as strawberries.

Simon Potts, Professor of Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services at the University of Reading, said: "Strawberries are just one example of the hundreds of different fruits, vegetables and plants that depend on bees for their survival. Unless we do more to protect these pollinating heroes, it's not just the tennis fans at that will be the poorer - the health of our countryside and the security of our food supply will be at risk."

Paul De Zylva, Nature Campaigner at Friends of the Earth said: "This research is a warning we must listen to. Without bees, we could pay a fortune for our fruit and the quality would suffer too.

"Unless we make changes to the way we farm and plan our towns and cities it will be game, set and match for ."

Explore further: Bees at risk from chemicals increase, scientists say

Related Stories

Asian bees threaten Australia

June 15, 2007

Four swarms of Asian bees found in Cairns, Australia, may pose a serious threat to the country's honey bee population.

Study: City bees better than rural bees

January 17, 2006

A French beekeepers' association says it has determined bees reared in cities are healthier and more productive than bees raised in rural areas.

Bees are good informers

September 9, 2011

Honeybees can do far more than simply pollinate plants or make honey. The busy creatures also make excellent environmental monitors. This has been demonstrated by Wageningen UR bee researcher Sjef van der Steen. He used ...

Heavy metal pollution causes severe declines in wild bees

February 29, 2012

Wild bees are important pollinators and numerous studies dealing with pollination of wild plants and crops underline their vital role in ecosystems functioning. While honey bees can be easily transported to various location ...

Fate of bees worries Europe's parliament

November 15, 2011

Bothered by spiking mortality rates for bees, Europe's parliamentarians voted overwhelmingly Tuesday to urge the EU to provide more funding for the beekeeping sector.

Recommended for you

Ten months in the air without landing

October 27, 2016

Common swifts are known for their impressive aerial abilities, capturing food and nest material while in flight. Now, by attaching data loggers to the birds, researchers reporting in the Cell Press journal Current Biology ...

1 comment

Adjust slider to filter visible comments by rank

Display comments: newest first

not rated yet Jun 29, 2012
"t would cost the UK at least £1.8billion every year to hand-pollinate crops."

But just think of all those poor out of work sods that would finally have gainful employment. See, there's always a bright side. ;P

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.