Grapes, avocados, cucumbers: if bees were extinct, the list of fruit and vegetables we could no longer eat would be lengthy. In the worst case scenario, it would even include dairy products because bees (including honeybees, wild bees and bumblebees) pollinate many of the crops used to feed cows. If they were to suddenly vanish, our plates would become a lot emptier as bees pollinate approximately 70% of food crops. And this scenario isn’t as unlikely as it sounds: alarmingly, the British bee population has declined by a third since 2007 and the number of hives has plummeted by 73% over the past century. Mites and viruses are partly to blame for this, but pesticides are also thought to have wiped out bee colonies. That said, not all fruits and vegetables would disappear if bees weren’t around: some would be unaffected because they’re pollinated by the wind or other insects. Today, researchers and farmers are already frantically searching for new ways to pollinate plants.