Decline of the Bumblebee
August 14, 2009
Bumblebee numbers are declining, not just in the U.K. but across Europe and North America. This has prompted an increase in research globally to find out why.
Professor of Biological Sciences at the University of Stirling David Goulson says that the U.K. has already seen three of its 27 bumblebee species become extinct and another six are now on the critically endangered list. Goulson blames these figures on a number of factors such as the introduction of pesticides to farming, the widespread destruction of the U.K’s flower meadows and hedgerows, the loss of hay meadows and grasslands to cereal crops and the clearance of woodland and heath-land.
The bumblebee is essential for the pollination of a number of our crops and Goulson points out that in recognizing that fact farmers have started to import bees from the continent. These non-native bees are now posing yet another threat to the native population.
The Bumblebee Conservation Trust (BBCT), set up in 2006 and already boasting over 5,000 members, aims to promote the importance of the bumblebee across the nation from farmers to gardeners. They aim to advise local authorities on best practices for encouraging bees to flourish. U.K. gardens cover over 1 million hectares of land. This is far more than all of the nature reserves combined. Making gardens more bumblebee friendly could have a huge positive impact, says Goulson.
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