Major study into the demise of bees is announced
The number of bees in the UK has fallen between 10 and 15 per cent over the past two years. A new study hopes to help stop the decline.
Nearly £10million, including £500,000 from the Scottish Government, is to be invested to help to identify the main threats to bees
Pollinators including honey and bumble bees, butterflies and moths play an essential role in putting food on tables through the pollination of many vital crops.
However, it's claimed these insects are susceptible to a variety of diseases and environmental threats.
Climate change, in particular warmer winters and wetter summers, has had a major impact.
The number of bees in the UK alone has fallen between 10 and 15 per cent over the last two years.
Now some of the UK's major research funders have joined together to launch an important new study programme.
The biggest challenge will be to develop a better understanding of the complex relationships between biological and environmental factors which affect the health and lifespan of pollinators.
Funding will be made available to research teams across the UK under the Living With Environmental Change partnership.
Richard Lochhead, minister for Rural Affairs and the Environment, said: "It is vital that we increase our understanding of the issues affecting populations of bees and other pollinators such as wasps, butterflies and beetles and in particular whether these are due to climate change.
"The impact these insects have on our rural industries, such as the soft fruit sector, and on plant biodiversity across Scotland cannot be under-estimated."