Short-Haired Bumblebee Coming Back to Britain

The short-haired bumblebee, declared extinct in the UK in 2000, is to be re-introduced to this country from New Zealand, under a new project facilitated by the Bumblebee Conservation Trust.

The short-haired bumblebee was transported to New Zealand in the nineteenth century to aid the pollination of crops. Now, in an effort to compensate for recent pollinator declines in the UK, and to tackle habitat loss, the Bumblebee Conservation Trust, Natural England and Hymettus have launched a scheme to bring the bee back.

Dr Nikki Gammans, Project Officer at the Bumblebee Conservation Trust, will bring 50 – 100 short-haired bumblebees back to the UK from New Zealand at the end of this year. The Trust will then instigate a captive breeding programme, with the aim of facilitating successive releases of the bee around Britain from 2010. The first release will be at Dungeness in Kent, the last recorded location of the native short-haired bee before its extinction in this country.

The initial release will be accompanied by efforts to improve the habitat for bees at the Dungeness RSPB reserve and work with farmers to increase bee-friendly areas on their land. 98% of the wildflower meadows have been lost across the UK in the last 60 years. The BCT and Natural England hope this project will contribute to the restoration of areas of habitat suitable for bumblebees across the country.

Original story from the Guardian

The British Ecological Society has organised an event at the British Science Festival this year, working with the Bumblebee Conservation Trust and Royal Horticultural Society to explore how you can make your garden more hospitable to pollinators. Dr Nikki Gammans will join us to talk about the reintroduction programme. ‘Gardening for wildlife: can suburbia become Britain’s largest nature reserve?‘ will take place on Monday 7 September at the University of Surrey, Guildford. <a href=””>Find out more.