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MP backs campaign to save long-horned bees.

Byline: MIKE LOCKLEY Staff Reporter mike.lockley?trinitymirror.com

SELLY Oak MP Steve McCabe has a bee in his bonnet - over the plight of the area's most endangered insects.

And yesterday he praised constituents for their help in saving the humble longhorned bee by collectively taking 180 'actions' to stem the decline of the species.

Locals have backed Friends of The Earth's 'Bee Cause' campaign by planting bee friendly seeds, signing petitions and even created 'insect hotels' to replace lost habitat.

Mr McCabe is also urging the government to unveil a 'bee action plan', The long-horn, given the name because of the large antennae on males, is one of the UK's rarest bees, but is clinging on in the West Midlands.

Numbers have fallen sharply as the flower-rich grassland it relies on is sacrificed for more intense farming use.

But the long-horned can still be seen around disused train lines and quarries in South Staffs, Warwickshire and North Worcestershire.

Mr McCabe said: "It's amazing, pardon the pun, but I never thought bees would create such a buzz. It's great to see people helping the long-horned bee. 'And I'm doing my bit, too, by asking the Government to introduce a Bee Action Plan to tackle all major causes of bee decline.

"I have been asking the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs what research they are doing into the potential effect of pesticides on bees and other pollinators."

Bees, in general, are feeling the sting from habitat loss and pesticides. The UK has lost 20 species in the last 100 years.

Friends of the Earth's Head of Campaigns, Andrew Pendleton, said: "We're delighted that Stephen McCabe is listening to people in Birmingham, Selly Oak and has pledged to help save bees, especially the long-horned bee. Bees are vital to our food supply, green spaces and economy."

CAPTION(S):

MP Steve McCabe with the Bee Cause's Nithya Natarajan. Main picture, a long-horned bee.
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Publication:Birmingham Mail (England)
Date:May 24, 2013
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