Bee populations down by up to 75 per cent
THREE-QUARTERS of our bees have been lost in parts of the Westcountry, according to a study by a Plymouth-based conservation charity.
The new report on bees in South West England by nature conservation charity Buglife reveals that up to 75 per cent of some of our most threatened bee species have been lost in some counties.
The study researched 23 species considered to be at risk in the UK, twenty are declining whilst three have become extinct.
Andrew Whitehouse, south west manager at Buglife said, “The South West remains a stronghold for some of the UK's most threatened bee species.
“But, over the past 50 years we have seen the local extinction of many of the region's special bees.
“Some are precariously holding on, such as the Six-banded nomad bee (Nomada sexfasciata) which has all but disappeared from the UK, except for a last remaining site in South Devon.”
Wild bees and other insect pollinators are faced with a perfect storm of pressures which have all led to their decline, these include: a loss of wildflower-rich natural and semi-natural habitats through the intensification of farming, increased use of pesticides, the loss of bee habitats to development, unpredictable and extreme weather resulting from climate change.
As a result half of the UK's 27 bumblebee species are in decline, two-thirds of our moths and over 70 per cent of our butterflies are in long-term decline.