Extinct bumblebees released on nature reserve

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Efforts to reintroduce an extinct species of bumblebee to the UK received a boost this month with new queens released into the wild.

The short-haired bumblebee was once widespread across the south of England but it vanished in 1988. However, have collected a healthy stock of the bees from Sweden, and are reintroduced them to the RSPB’s Dungeness nature reserve, home to most of the UK’s seven species of rare bumblebee.

The first generation of queens collected and released last year struggled in the cold wet conditions last summer, and it is hoped the new queen bees will bolster the colony. More short-haired bumblebees joined them this month.

Nikki Gammans, from the Short-haired Bumblebee Project, said: “Kent is really the best place in the whole of the UK for bumblebees. We haven’t found any yet from last year, but what we hope to do is a number of re-introductions, at least five, and then the numbers will pick up and we’ll start to see them again.”

The loss of the short-haired bumblebee was caused by the dramatic decline of wildflower meadows that occurred after World War II as agriculture intensified. It is estimated that 97% of Britain’s flower-rich grasslands, which the bees needed to forage and thrive, have vanished over the past 70 years.

4 responses to “Extinct bumblebees released on nature reserve

  1. Pingback: Bumblebees back to Britain from New Zealand | Dear Kitty. Some blog

  2. Hope something is being done, then, in partnership with this excellent scheme, to protect and reinstate necessary habitat.
    It also needs to be supported by education/public relations so that public know what, why and how they/we can help.
    Good luck with it.

    • Yes you’re right, there does need to be greater education and awareness about this kind of project to get more people involved and engaged. Hopefully more of the media will pick up on it.

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