A News Article released by PA Media:

Climate Change could be affecting Bee populations according to new research.

Bumblebees are in drastic decline across Europe and North America owing to hotter
and more frequent extremes in temperatures, scientists say.
A study suggests the likelihood of a bumblebee population surviving in any given
place has declined by 30% in the course of a single human generation. The
researchers say the rates of decline appear to be “consistent with a mass extinction”.
Peter Soroye, a PhD student at the University of Ottawa and the study’s lead author,
said: “We found that populations were disappearing in areas where the temperatures
had gotten hotter. If declines continue at this pace, many of these species could
vanish forever within a few decades.”
The team used data collected over a 115-year period on 66 bumblebee species across
North America and Europe to develop a model simulating “climate chaos” scenarios.
They were able to see how bumblebee populations had changed over the years by
comparing where the insects were now to where they used to be.

Bees in decline Sussex and Surrey Coppice Group

Bees in decline Sussex and Surrey Coppice Group. Photo by Bob Iles.

Dr Tim Newbold, of University College London’s Centre for Biodiversity &
Environment Research, said: “We were surprised by how much climate change has
already caused bumblebee declines. Our findings suggest that much larger declines
are likely if climate change accelerates in the coming years, showing that we need
substantial efforts to reduce climate change if we are to preserve bumblebee
Bumblebees play a key role in pollinating crops such as tomatoes, squash and
berries. The researchers say their methods could be used to predict extinction risk
and identify areas where conservation actions are needed.
Prof Jeremy Kerr, of the University of Ottawa and the study’s senior author, said:
“This work also holds out hope by implying ways that we might take the sting out of
climate change for these and other organisms by maintaining habitats that offer
shelter, like trees, shrubs or slopes, that could let bumblebees get out of the heat.
“Ultimately, we must address climate change itself and every action we take to reduce
emissions will help.”

One of our members, Bob Hewitt comments:

Bumble bees are the first to emerge early season, I have spotted one or two already at the end of Feb, from the woodsman’s point of view coppicing is vital for Bumble bees, regenerating coppice brings vitality to the  early spring flowers, like snowdrops, bluebells and wild garlic, not to mention the summer flowers in the wide rides.
On the ground, mice are the Bees biggest threat by eating them out of house and home, bumble bees are more likely to thrive around farm buildings than in the woods,  farm cats are the bee’s best friend who keep the mice on the move.
My blueberries are predominantly pollinated by Bumble bees as the honey bees are still waking up.
For the last two seasons I have had a nest in the path right outside our packing shed, they are not phased by a bit of disturbance it probably keeps the mice away, So if you find a bumble bee nest preserve it, create a bit of habitat for them, make them a nest box with a bit of cotton wool, and they love a sugary drink but not cider.
Happy cutting
Bob Hewitt

You can read the full paper HERE

News item edited b y Bob Iles (SSCG member)

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