If bees and other pollinators were to disappear completely, the cost to the UK economy could be up to £440m per year, scientists have warned.
This amounts to about 13% of the country’s income from farming.
In a bid to save the declining insects, up to £10m has been invested in nine projects that will explore threats to pollinators.
The Insect Pollinators Initiative will look at different aspects of the insects’ decline.
The initiative brings together specialists from a number of UK universities, as well as from the Food & Environment Research Agency and the Natural Environment Research Council’s (Nerc) Centre for Ecology and Hydrology.
It is funded by several public and charity organisations, led by the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC).
Honeybees, hoverflies, wasps, bumblebees, moths and butterflies play a vital role in feeding people through the pollination of crops.