Bumblebees provide a vital pollination service, and are enchanting creatures. Unfortunately, bumblebees have been declining in many countries throughout the world.
It’s also unfortunate that there are many attempts to remove bumblebee nests and destroy them, quite unnecessarily. I have a page about this issue here, and you will see that firstly, I try to dissuade people from destroying or attempting to relocate nests. The fact is:
it is rarely necessary to move or destroy a bumblebee nest: bumblebees are not aggressive, and at the end of the season, the whole colony shall die naturally anyway.
However, I now believe it is high time we did something to actively protect bumblebees and their nests by law – in the same way, that, for example, bats in the UK and in some other countries, receive protection.
We really need to act now to raise awareness, and encourage people to leave nests alone.
What Can We Do?
Dear (Political Representative)
(find your UK MP here -opens new window).
I am writing to urge you to put forward my request for the legal protection of bumblebees and bumblebee nests.
As you are aware, the decline of bumblebees is a serious concern, and they are threatened by a wide range of issues, such as habitat loss, pesticides, and diseases.
Given the very temporary nature of bumblebee nests, there is seldom a valid reason for their removal, and successfully relocating bumblebee nests cannot easily be guaranteed: bumblebee queens are ‘fussy’ and different species of bees will require different flora and nesting conditions. Even when nest sites are naturally selected, failure rate of colonies can be as high as 72% (1). Members of the public who destroy nests may be unaware that the colony will only last a season, that bumblebees are rarely aggressive, and that they are already in serious decline.
In the same way that bats are protected in the UK, I ask you to support the legal protection of bumblebees and their nests, so that it is against the law to:
(1) Goulson: Bumblebee Behaviour And Ecology, p6: citing a study in Southern England by Cumber: of 80 nests, only 23 produced new queens (essential to ensure future generations of bumblebees). This equates to approximately 72% ‘failure’ rate.
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(Please think twice about purchasing boxes of bumblebees)
Wild Bumblebees under threat from commercially reared bumblebees:
"77% of the commercially produced bumblebee colonies from the three producers, which were imported on the basis of being free of parasites, in fact carried microbial parasites"
"During the first year trials, tests of bees from one vendor revealed that all six bumble bee colonies came already infected with IAPV"
(other samples of bumblebees had DWV and BQCV)
Copy and paste the link below in a new window for further information:
Name of study:
"RNA Viruses in Hymenopteran Pollinators: Evidence of Inter-Taxa Virus Transmission via Pollen and Potential Impact on Non-Apis Hymenopteran Species"