Presentation - Bumblebee Conservation Trust

Report
Plight of the
bumblebee
Bees in the UK
─ Around 250 species of bee
─ 24 bumblebees
─ 1 honeybee
─ The rest are solitary bees
─ All bees get nectar from flowers
(fuel) and protein-rich pollen (for
growth)
Bees in the UK
Honeybee, Apis mellifera
Solitary bee, Colletes
daviesanus
Mining bee, Andrena
Red Mason Bee, Osmia rufa
Tawny mining bee, Andrena fulva
What are bumblebees?
─ Hymenoptera (Bees, wasps, ants
and sawflies); genus ‘Bombus’
─ Around 250 species worldwide
─ Annual life cycle
─ Feed exclusively on pollen and
nectar
─ Predominantly northern hemisphere
What are bumblebees?
‘Warm-blooded’
– high energy
requirements =
they need a lot of
flowers!
Picture from Volynchik et al. 2006. Microscopy Research and Technique 69: 903-912.
Bumblebees and honeybees
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Bumblebees
Honeybees
─ Wild
─ Domesticated
─ 18 social species and 6 cuckoo
species
─ Only 1 species
─ 50-400 workers
─ 50,000 workers
─ No dancing!
─ ‘Waggledance’
─ Only the queen survives winter
─ Colony survives winter
─ Struggling due to flower
shortages - habitat loss
─ Hives badly affected by
diseases
The bumblebee life cycle
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What bumblebees need
─ Somewhere to nest
─ Somewhere to
hibernate
─ Lots of flowers for
food
What has happened to bumblebees?
─ 1980 Atlas of
bumblebees found
widespread declines
─ Over a third of the
social bumblebee
species have declined
by more than 70%
2000-2007
1900-1950
1950-2000
Great yellow bumblebee
Maps from NBN
1950-2000
1900-1950
2000-2007
2000-2007
Shrill carder bee
Maps from NBN
1900-1950
2000-2007
1950-2000
Short-haired bumblebee
Maps from NBN
Common species?
─ Many of the common species were found
‘everywhere’
─ They do the bulk of the pollination, so is
everything ok?
─ Until recently, only distribution was recorded
– so we know where the bees are
─ But we don’t know very much about
abundance
─ Common species may not be so abundant,
but we wouldn’t know!
─ Our ‘Bee Walk’ monitoring scheme will help
to find this data, but it’s early days
Should we be worried?
─ Huge commercial importance as
pollinators
─ Insect pollination in the UK worth
£440 million (1996)
─ €14.2 billion in EU
─ Many wild plants depend on them for
pollination
─ Bumblebees help to support networks
of semi-natural flower-rich grassland
─ No bumblebees = sweeping changes
to the countryside
─ Intrinsic value
bumblebee at commercial raspberry flower
Tongue length (mm)
Honey bee worker
Bumblebee worker
Bumblebee queen
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Schematic representation range of plants visited by honey bees
and bumblebees (showing area of overlap)
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Why are bumblebees declining?
─ Great loss of bumblebee
habitat
─ 98% of flower-rich
grassland has been lost in
UK since 1940s
─ Agricultural changes to more
intensive methods
─ Cutting grass many times a
year and heavy grazing
─ Removal of hedgerows and
areas without crops
What can we do to help bumblebees?
Habitats
Habitats
Habitats
Habitats
Habitats
Habitats
and
Habitats!
Habitats
The best sites for bumblebees in the UK look like this…
…and this...
BBCT’s work with farmers
—Stimulate interest
—Promote sympathetic management
—Provide advice
—Help to get the best out of agrienvironment schemes
—Demonstrate best practice
—Focus in priority areas, for now
Land management
─ RSPB Vane Farm at Loch
Leven
─ Re-seeded with local
wildflower seeds
─ Now used for food by the rare
blaeberry bumblebee from
nearby hills – success!
Relatively small flower-rich
patches can support workers
from many nests, visiting from
up to a kilometre away
A mosaic of bee refuges
spread around the
countryside would maintain
populations
Gardening for bumblebees
─ Some bumblebee species are now more common in gardens
and parks than in the countryside
─ Gardens cover more than 1 million hectares in the UK
─ It’s important to have the right plants that provide pollen and
nectar from March - September
Spring
Early summer
Late summer
Gardening for bumblebees
─ Many common bedding plants
are no good for bumblebees
or other wildlife
─ Produce little or no nectar
or pollen
─ Have been bred by
horticulturalists to have
flowers that look nice, but
are too hard for bees to
use
X
Gardening for bumblebees
Nest establishment in spring:
─ Daffodil
─ Willow
─ Lungwort
─ Flowering currant
─ Heather
─ Bluebell
Gardening for bumblebees
Colony growth continues in
spring and summer:
─ Buddleia
─ Foxglove
─ Lavender
─ Thyme
─ ‘pea-family’ plants
─ Aquilegia
─ Allium
Gardening for bumblebees
Mid- to late-summer fledging of
new queens and males – this
requires a lot of food
─ Lavender
─ Honeysuckle
─ Clovers
─ Scabious
─ Cornflower
─ Campanula
A nest that has not reared new queens or males has failed
Bee Kind
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Making space for bumblebees
─ Go wild! Wildflower meadows
are great habitat for bees, and
can be created in most
gardens or amenity grassland.
─ Perfect for community areas
─ Will flower year after year if
managed properly
─ More information on these in
factsheets and booklet
‘Making Space for
Bumblebees’
BeeWalk
─ National scheme to collect abundance
data
─ Helps us detect population declines
─ All data contributes to long-term
monitoring of populations in response to
climate and land-use change
─ Volunteers walk a 1-2km route once a
month between March and October
─ They record:
─ all bumblebee species seen
─ The number of each species seen
How can you help?
–Help increase habitat availability on farmed land through
sympathetic management
–Surveying
– the more records we have, the better an understanding we
have of bumblebees and which need our help most
– volunteers could really help to increase records and collect
abundance data for the first time through the BeeWalk
scheme
–Provide bumblebee habitat in your garden
Join us!
–We’d love to welcome you as a new member of BBCT
–Membership types to suit all, starting from as little as £16 per year
–You will receive our ‘Buzzword’ newsletter three times per year
–New members receive our welcome pack tailored to those interested in gardening
or bumblebee identification:
–
A choice of either:
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‘What’s that bumblebee?’ ID guide and ID poster, or
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‘Gardening for bumblebees’ and Gardening poster
AND
–
Bumblebee pin badge
–
A packet of wildflower seeds
–
Window sticker
Join us!
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