Short-haired bumblebees buzz back from extinction
The short-haired bumblebee has successfully nested in the UK for the first time in 25 years, thanks to a reintroduction project by conservationists.
One of Britain’s 27 native bumblebee species, the short-haired bumblebee (Bombus subterraneus) had not been recorded in the UK since 1988 and was declared extinct from the country in 2000.
The Short-haired Bumblebee Project, funded by Natural England, the RSPB, Hymettus, and the Bumblebee Conservation Trust, collected queen bees from a healthy population in Sweden and released them in June to RSPB Dungeness in Kent, the same site where the bumblebees were last seen a quarter of a century ago.
One month later, young worker bees were discovered; evidence that the queens had successfully nested. “The first offspring worker bees are the first step towards a viable, self-sustaining population,” said Nik Shelton from the RSPB.
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