Worrying research reveals that bumblebees are in drastic decline across Europe and North America. This is because of hotter and more frequent extremes in temperatures, scientists say.
The 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 this could be “consistent with a mass extinction”.
Researchers from the University of Ottawa collected data from a 115-year period, which covered 66 bumblebee species across North America and Europe. It was used 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.
Dr Tim Newbold, University College London, 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 diversity.”
To help bumble bees in your own garden
- Leave early flowering weeds such as dandelions - they provide important nectar for emerging hibernating bees
- Mix your planting, so there are flowering plants from early spring through to late autumn
- Provide shelter and nesting places, by leaving your growing area more relaxed - long grass, wood piles, cracks and crevices, are all havens for insects
Plants for bumble bees
- Spring - dandelion, pulmonaria (lungwort), hellebore
- Summer - acquilegia, borage, lavender, phacelia
- Autumn - catmint, ground ivy, sedum