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The economic contribution of insect pollination to crop production is significant, with annual global estimates of up to £400 billion. Crops such as fruit, nuts, seeds, and many vegetables require insect pollination to produce a viable harvest. The activities of pollinators may contribute to crop yield, improve visual quality of produce or even boost the nutritional content of food. These ecosystem services are provided by a range of insect species including butterflies, bumblebees, hoverflies, honey bees and moths.

Facts about pollinators

  • There are over 1,500 species of insect pollinator in the UK and increased pollinator diversity can greatly improve crop yield.
  • Bees are an important group of pollinators that are completely reliant on nectar and pollen from flowers.
  • Managed pollinators, like the honey bee, offer a mobile pollination service that can be used to top-up the natural populations of wild pollinators and improve local crop production.

Agriculture can come into conflict with pollinator conservation due to landscape alteration reducing the number of available nesting sites, or the use of chemicals that might harm pollinators. We offer a range of scientific services based on our expertise and understanding of pollinator biology, enabling farmers to enhance crop productivity and ensure the environmental sustainability of their farms.

Policy changes and local land management decisions can influence the availability of the floral resources available to pollinators. Fera ecologists specialise in completing habitat assessments and providing advice on government-funded schemes, such as the Countryside Stewardship, to ensure pollinators can fulfil their nutritional and nesting requirements.

Pollinators also have to cope with a range of pests and diseases, many of which are known drivers of poor health and colony losses. Honey bees are known to suffer from mites as well as bacterial, viral and fungal infections. Working alongside the National Bee Unit, Fera offer world-class capability in researching, detecting and controlling honey bee pests and diseases. Our staff have decades of experience advising governments and the apiculture industry on ways to minimise risk to these key pollinators.

We have specialists in chemical safety testing, and have developed internationally-recognised guidelines for honey bees, bumblebees and solitary bees (click here for more details). Importantly, we have economists to assess the financial benefits of farming inputs; entomologists who specialise in pest control; and chemists capable of assessing pesticide residues as well as the risks associated with (metabolic) breakdown products.

In short, we have the interdisciplinary expertise necessary to understand the complex interactions across farm and landscape scales, that can shape pollination outcomes and contribute to sustainable crop production.

Safeguarding pollinators

Find out how Fera leads the way in pollinator safety research, testing and analysis.

We offer a host of services to support the objectives of bee keepers, farmers, chemical producers, retailers and consumers.

Find out more at FutureHive by Fera

Contact us

T: +44 (0)300 100 0321


Agricultural & Horticultural Brochure

Download the latest brochure here Diagnostics, Testing & Insights brochure

  • Drone Field Mapping & Satellite Capability - understanding crop stress
  • Crop Protection - heritage & exclusive access to datasets
  • Extensive range of experts & custodians of the National Collection of Plant Pathogenic Bacteria