Thursday, 19 July 2018

Bumblebees thrive in towns more than countryside

Urban bumblebees have better access to food, allowing them to produce more offspring

Wed 27 Jun 2018 00.01 BST

Bumblebee colonies fare better in villages and cities than in fields, research has revealed.

Bumblebees are important pollinators, but face threats including habitat loss, climate changepesticide and fungicide use and parasites. Now researchers say that bumblebee colonies in urban areas not only produce more offspring than those on agricultural land, but have more food stores, fewer invasions from parasitic “cuckoo” bumblebees, and survive for longer.

“[The study] is not saying that cities are necessarily the ideal habitat for bees, it is just that they are doing better in the cities than in the countryside,” said Ash Samuelson, a doctoral student and first author of the research from Royal Holloway, University of London.

While researchers have previously found a greater variety of pollinator species in urban settings, Samuelson says the latest study goes further, revealing that it is not simply that bumblebees make a flying visit to urban locations, but that populations are stronger there.

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