Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Bumblebees Make Bee Line For Gardens, National Bumblebee Nest Survey Finds

Date:
July 24, 2007
Source:
Blackwell Publishing Ltd.
Summary:
Britain's gardens are vital habitats for nesting bumblebees, new research has found. The findings will help conservationists understand -- and hopefully address -- the factors responsible for declining bumblebee populations.

Britain's gardens are vital habitats for nesting bumblebees, new research has found. The results come from the National Bumblebee Nest Survey, which are published in the British Ecological Society's Journal of Applied Ecology, and the findings will help conservationists understand -- and hopefully address -- the factors responsible for declining bumblebee populations.

Related Articles


During the National Bumblebee Nest Survey, more than 700 volunteers surveyed their own gardens plus one of six different countryside habitats for bumblebee nests. They found that gardens contain the highest densities of bumblebee nests (36 nests per ha), followed by hedgerows, fence lines and woodland edges (20-37 nests/ha). Nest densities were lower in woodland and grassland (11-15 nests/ha). Until now, little has been known about which habitats are best for bumblebee nests.

According to the study's lead author, Dr Juliet Osborne of Rothamsted Research: "Gardens clearly provide an important habitat for bumblebees and, although in the countryside the total area occupied by field margins and hedgerows is relatively small, sympathetic management -- as encouraged by current environmental stewardship schemes -- could improve bumblebee nesting opportunities in farmland."

As well as providing important information on which habitats are the most important for bumblebee nests, the study also shows what a valuable contribution members of the public can make to ecological research. "We were delighted that people volunteered to do the survey. The success of the survey shows that public participation is very useful for monitoring bumblebees," says Osborne.

Bumblebees are important pollinators of our crops and wild plants, but their populations have declined dramatically over the past 50 years. The decline is thought to be linked to the impact of modern farming methods on bumblebees' food plants. But as well as food, bumblebees need nesting sites for queens to start new colonies in spring.

Gardens are attractive nest sites for bumblebees for many reasons. Osborne says: "The diversity of garden features and gardening styles provide a large variety of potential nesting sites compared to more uniform countryside habitats. Areas with gardens have a high concentration of boundary features, such as hedges, fences, and garden buildings, which are suitable for nesting. Bumblebees also like nesting in compost heaps, bird boxes and flower beds. Gardeners like to see flowers almost all year round, so this ensures continuity of nectar and pollen sources for the bees throughout spring and summer at a density rarely encountered in the countryside."

Bumblebees' penchant for nesting in linear habitats in the countryside is less easy to explain. It could simply be because bees are confined to these habitats in heavily cultivated areas, or relate to the fact that bees use landmarks like hedges for navigation. "Bumblebees are known to use linear features such as hedgerows to guide their foraging activity and queen bumblebees may found more nests in or near linear features because they could act as conspicuous linear landmarks to help them get back home," Osborne says.

Reference: J L Osborne et al (2007). Quantifying and comparing bumblebee nest densities in gardens and countryside habitats. Journal of Applied Ecology, doi: 10.1111/j.1365-2664.2007.01359.x is published online on 23 July 2007.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Blackwell Publishing Ltd.. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

Blackwell Publishing Ltd.. "Bumblebees Make Bee Line For Gardens, National Bumblebee Nest Survey Finds." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 24 July 2007. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/07/070723095226.htm>.
Blackwell Publishing Ltd.. (2007, July 24). Bumblebees Make Bee Line For Gardens, National Bumblebee Nest Survey Finds. ScienceDaily. Retrieved November 23, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/07/070723095226.htm
Blackwell Publishing Ltd.. "Bumblebees Make Bee Line For Gardens, National Bumblebee Nest Survey Finds." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/07/070723095226.htm (accessed November 23, 2014).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Plants & Animals News

Sunday, November 23, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Anglerfish Rarely Seen In Its Habitat Will Haunt You

Anglerfish Rarely Seen In Its Habitat Will Haunt You

Newsy (Nov. 22, 2014) For the first time Monterey Bay Aquarium recorded a video of the elusive, creepy and rarely seen anglerfish. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Birds Around the World Take Flight

Birds Around the World Take Flight

Reuters - Light News Video Online (Nov. 22, 2014) An imperial eagle equipped with a camera spreads its wings over London. It's just one of the many birds making headlines in this week's "animal roundup". Jillian Kitchener reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Could Your Genes Be The Reason You're Single?

Could Your Genes Be The Reason You're Single?

Newsy (Nov. 21, 2014) Researchers in Beijing discovered a gene called 5-HTA1, and carriers are reportedly 20 percent more likely to be single. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Raw: Baby Okapi Born at Houston Zoo

Raw: Baby Okapi Born at Houston Zoo

AP (Nov. 20, 2014) The Houston Zoo released video of a male baby okapi. Okapis, also known as the "forest giraffe", are native to the Democratic Republic of the Congo in Central Africa. Video is mute from source. (Nov. 20) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Plants & Animals

Earth & Climate

Fossils & Ruins

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins