A professor at Egham's Royal Holloway, University of London will be leading a crucial study into the effects of pesticides on bees across the UK and Europe.

With a grant of €9million, the research consortium POSHBEE led by Mark Brown, Professor in Evolutionary Ecology and Conservation at Royal Holloway, will study honey bees, bumble bees and solitary bees who are in serious decline in Europe and around the globe.

POSHBEE is a consortium of academics, governmental organisations, industry, and non-government agencies that will try and find a solution to the growing need to ensure the sustainable health of bees in Europe.

For the first time, the study will incorporate the knowledge and experience of local beekeeping, farming organisations and academic researchers (including the EU RefLab for bee health).

It will be the first comprehensive pan-European assessment of the hazard bees increasingly face from a growing mix of chemicals.

Professor Brown said of the five-year study: “I’m very excited to be leading this new study, especially as it will examine many species of bee, from our well-known social honey bees to much less well-known but equally vital solitary bees.

“With 42 partners working on POSHBEE across the UK and Europe, and with the help of experts from science to bee keepers and farmers, we aim to make ground-breaking findings and start to work on ways to keep bees healthy.

“We hope that by the end of the five year study we will have a good understanding of the threats that bees face, as well as a range of advice and tools for policy makers and practical bee keepers and conservation organisations that will keep our bees healthy into the future.

“After all, they are our best pollinators and are essential for our human well-being.”