Losing bees would cost Britain £1.8bn to foot the costs of hand-pollinating plants, a study has found.
Researchers at the University of Reading say the decline in their numbers would be disastrous for crops and drive up food prices. Simon Potts, professor of biodiversity, and his team tested teams hand-pollinating all Britain’s major crops.
They worked out how many hours it would take them to cover all the crops in Britain and what they would be paid for their time at the minimum wage.
Using humans with paintbrushes to pollinate crops including apples, pears, strawberries, oildseed rape, field beans, courgettes, peaches and plums would cost £1.8bn – the equivalent of 60,000 teachers or nurses.