Tuesday, 11 August 2015

Short-haired bumblebee numbers on the rise in the UK

Tuesday 11 August 2015 06.01 BSTLast modified on Tuesday 11 August 201509.32 BST

New sightings of short-haired bumblebees show a scheme to reintroduce the vanished species to the UK is proving successful, conservationists have said.

Three short-haired bumblebee workers were spotted at the RSPB’s Dungeness nature reserve in Kent, where the reintroduction scheme is taking place, on four consecutive days.

The short-haired bumblebee vanished from the UK in 1988, having suffered declines over the previous 60 years as its habitat was lost, and was officially declared locally extinct in 2000.

A scheme to reintroduce the species has seen experts collecting short-haired bumblebee queens from Sweden, where they are found in good numbers, and releasing them at the Dungeness reserve each year since 2012.

There have now been consistent sightings of workers bees over the past three years, showing the queens have successfully nested and produced young and indicating the bees are finding enough food to build colonies, experts said.

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