Losing bees would cost us £1.8bn a year
It would cost the UK £1.8 billion every year to hand-pollinate crops without bees.
The figure comes from research by the University of Reading - just as Friends of the Earth launches The Bee Cause. The campaign is a call to save one of our most important native insects.
Wild honey bees are nearly extinct in Britain and solitary bees are declining in more than half study areas.
With a dramatic launch in the heart of London, Friends of the Earth is raising awareness of the plight of our bees. We're pushing for the Government to adopt a National Bee Action Plan.
Unless we halt the decline in British bees our farmers will have to rely on hand pollination, which will send food prices rocketing.
Paul de Zylva, Nature Campaigner, Friends of the Earth
£1.8bn is what it costs to produce milk every year for UK consumption. It's also equivalent to the annual wages of 60,000 teachers.
Friends of the Earth is urging David Cameron to adopt a plan which includes:
Action on how we plan our towns.
Improvements to the way we farm and use pesticides.
Funding for experts to ensure the future of bee populations.
Sign the petition
Please add your name to our petition to David Cameron.
More on our campaign launch
The launch takes place today outside the National Theatre on London's South Bank.
We've created a huge wildflower meadow to show the need for bee-friendly habitats.
We'll be giving info on how people can help bees in their gardens - and giving away 10,000 packets of wildflower seeds.