The plight of pollinators has become well known, especially the significant negative impacts of neonicotinoid pesticides. Less widely understood is that pollinators such as bees, moths and butterflies face a combination of threats, including habitat loss, climate change, pathogens spread from managed bees to wild bees, and of course a deadly cocktail of pesticides and fungicides. Banning or strictly limiting use of neonicotinoid pesticides is an important measure for helping maintain valuable pollinator populations, but we need to take broader action to restore and decontaminate habitat and prevent the spread of pathogens. In particular, the emphasis needs to be on protecting the health of native pollinators, not just honey bees.
To keep pollinators healthy and food supplies abundant we need to:
- Establish an independent science advisory body on wild native pollinators to ensure that the best available science informs implementation and evaluation of the government’s Pollinator Health Action Plan.
- Take measures to prevent the spread of pathogens from managed bee populations to wild native bees, including providing education and assistance for beekeepers.
- Provide incentives for pollinator-friendly farming practices and invest in research about the economic value of wild pollinators for farmers and their crops.