http://www.digitaljournal.com/article/261535

British Bumblebees in Danger

Posted Oct 23, 2008 by Bob Ewing
The British bumblebee appears to be in trouble with three species being extinct and the population on the decline. The bumblebee plays a role in crop pollination.
bee at work
bee at work
Bob Ewing
Members of the Royal Entomological Society are concerned that the decline of the bumblebee will have consequences that are experienced across the nation.
Three bumblebee species are extinct. Once the United Kingdom was the home for 25 different species of bumblebee but with three gone and eight becoming increasingly rare the future may be grim.
The bee pollinates raspberries, potatoes, runner beans and various wild plants, and its rapid decline is predicted to have a devastating effect on the distribution of crops and wild flowers in the countryside.
Professor David Goulson, co-founder of the Bumblebee Conservation Trust, said: “Declines in bumblebee species in the last 60 years are well documented in Europe, where they are primarily driven by habitat loss and declines in floral abundance and diversity resulting from agricultural intensification.
“Together with losses of honeybees to disease, these pollinator declines threaten agricultural productivity and reproduction of wild flowers.”
He added: “Bumblebees are very important in the pollination of crops and flowers and it is vital that steps be taken to prevent further declines.
“Conservation requires action at the landscape scale, to provide adequate floral resources and connectivity between populations.
“It is important that farmers use wildlife-friendly methods and support the replanting of hedgerows and the recreation of hay meadow and chalk grassland habitats to benefit themselves as much as the bees.
“Householders can play their part too by growing wildflowers and traditional cottage-garden plants.”