Alternative pollinators must be found to mitigate the impact of a collapse of the British honey bee population on English apples and pears.

“Pollination is such an important issue that Defra should make money available for research,” said Adrian Barlow. chief executive of English Apples and Pears, in response to concerns raised last week by Rowse Honey over the future of the £165m English apple industry.

Rowse chairman Stuart Bailey had warned that consumers would see English apple varieties disappear if a solution to the crisis weren’t found.