Wednesday, 12 August 2015

Queen bees reign again on Dungeness reserve

Published by surfbirds on August 12, 2015 courtesy of RSPB, surfbirds archive

Sightings of three short-haired bumblebee workers on an RSPB nature reserve mark a new milestone for a reintroduction project aimed at bringing this native species back to the UK.

The bumblebees were spotted on four consecutive days on RSPB’s Dungeness reserve in Kent, which is a first for the project.

Short-haired bumblebees were declared extinct in the UK in 2000, almost certainly due to the loss of 97% of ancient wild flower meadows on which they depend. They were last recorded in Dungeness in 1988.

Each year since 2012 around 50 queen bees from Sweden have been released on the Dungeness reserve as part of this pioneering project, led by the Bumblebee Conservation Trust (BBCT), RSPB, Natural England and Hymettus.

Consistent sightings of worker bees over the last three years reveals that the queens have successfully nested and produced young, a strong indication that the bees are finding sufficient food to build colonies.

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