The government is not doing enough to investigate the dwindling number of honeybees, MPs have claimed.

The all-party House of Commons Public Accounts Committee claimed that although bees were estimated to be worth £200m a year to the economy, the government had not given the problem priority.

The committee said research on bee health should be ring-fenced from general insect research and Defra should take steps to ensure more beekeepers registered with the body.

"[The drop in population] is very worrying and not just because the pollination of crops by honeybees is worth an estimated £200m," committee chairman Edward Leigh said.

"It is difficult to understand why Defra has taken so little interest in the problem up to now."