Welcome back to the short-haired bumblebee

Sandra Bell

28 May 2012

In the rush to get 2 small children ready in the morning it’s hard to listen properly to the news. But something grabbed my attention this morning. Between the usual depressing reports about the economy I heard that the short-haired bumblebee is to be reintroduced to the UK.

Around 50 of the bees were released at the RSPB's Dungeness reserve in Kent. This is close to where they were last recorded living wild in the UK in 1988.

It’s great that the short-haired bumblebee is back.

This isn't the only bee to have become extinct in the UK. We've also lost the Cullem’s bumblebee, and our native honey bee is virtually extinct now. 

Other species could follow if we don’t do more to look after bees – and nature more generally. Intensive farming, pesticides, pressures to build and diseases have all taken a toll on our bees.

Our new report The Decline of England’s Bees says the Government must get better at protecting our 276 bee species.

I hope the short-haired bumblebees at Dungeness will thrive in their new home. Conservationists and farmers on the reserve have worked together to make sure they do. 

But even these lucky bees might still be vulnerable to decisions being made in the surrounding area. The local council is consulting right now on whether the area is suitable for a nuclear dump. And Lydd Airport is pushing for this tiny airstrip to become another airport.

Let’s make sure this good-news story stays that way. We can all do our bit for bees - from urging David Cameron to introduce a National Bee Action Plan to planting the right kind of flowers in our parks and gardens.

You can read a summary of our report here.

Please ask David Cameron to draw up a National Bee Action Plan. Thank you.

Sandra Bell, bees campaigner  

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