Given their generalist floral preferences, large size, and ability to buzz pollinate, bumble bees
are considered effective native pollinators (Goulson, 2003) that make substantial contributions to agricultural production and maintenance of ecosystems (Kearns and Thomson, 2001).
Graham said: "The wet weather has meant that the bumble bees
in particular can't fly.
From his post in the Pollinating Insects Biology, Management, and Systematics Research Unit in Logan, Utah, Strange is studying various bumble bee
species that could serve as the next generation of proficient commercial pollinators.
As our show is about landscapes, we thought we could highlight this issue of bumble bees
at the same time.
Despite this there remains deep concern that the overall number of bumble bees
continues to fall, and the effects of this on pollination of wild and cultivated plants.
Researchers concluded that more mice and voles end up as dinner in fields near urban areas, thus enabling more queen bees to survive the winter to produce a larger crop of bumble bees
the following summer, in turn fertilising more clover flowers, etc, etc.
The common species are using gardens where people have flowers, but as we are losing the countryside flowers we are losing our bumble bees
, they are just disappearing and at least two species have become extinct in Durham in the last 20 years.
Environmental scientist Dr Tim Sparks said other species were also being affected: "Going back to the 1920s there are no records of bumble bees
at all earlier than February.
There are 24 species of bumble bee
in the UK - but 18 of these are in decline and six have been designated as priority species for conservation action.
It almost goes without saying these days that there is a recording scheme for bumble bees
cannot be kept for honey production as they only make enough to feed their young The male, or drone, bumble bee
does not have a sting There are three types of bumble bee
- the queen, the female workers and the male drones Bee populations were the hardest hit of any insect in the UK during the 20th century A bumble bee
can carry up to 60% of its body weight of pollen If there is a shortage of food a bee will travel miles for it
Usually they are fairly exotic creatures in faraway places, but now it seems here in the North East we are losing our bumble bees
and the scientists want to know why.