'Wild pollinating insects have vanished from a quarter of their former habitats across Britain, according to a new report.
Around a third of bee and hoverfly species across the country have experienced population crashes since the 1980s, raising concerns about food production and biodiversity.
The UK is home to hundreds of varieties of pollinators that provide £690m in value to the economy every year.
But the rise of industrial farming and pesticide use, combined with disease, invasive species and climate change, threatens the future of these insects and the agriculture they support.
Using data collected by volunteers across a 33-year period starting in 1980, scientists from the Centre for Ecology and Hydrology assessed the fates of over 350 species of pollinators.
The results were not all bad news, with a tenth of species – including those considered most crucial for pollinating crops – actually showing increases in their habitat size over the same period.
The team attributed this success to the abundance of oilseed rape for them to feed on, and government schemes encouraging farmers to plant more wildflowers.
But study author Dr Ben Woodcock said despite many populations remaining stable, their results revealed a “worrying” trend that chimed with wider warnings of mass insect extinctions.'
Read more: Bees and other pollinating insects disappear from quarter of UK habitats in population crash
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