Rare bee causes a buzz at reserve

Rare bee causes a buzz at reserve


Visitors to Norfolk and Cambridgeshire can see Ruderal bumblebees on the reserve at WWT Welney Wetland Centre this summer – a species which is scarce in the UK.

The bees are visiting the wildflowers on the reserve collecting nectar. At the same time, they are playing a vital role by pollinating the plants. Some members of this species lack the distinctive striping that is normally associated with these insects.

Only three populations of this species were found in Norfolk between 2001-2011. Many bumblebee species have seen a worrying decline in numbers due to threats including changes to modern land uses and farming practices.

‘Ruderal bumblebees have a particularly long tongue, and so feed on flowers such as comfrey, yellow iris and marsh woundwort. They are also well adapted to feeding from red clover, teasel and thistles. ‘The wetlands we manage provide the plants these insects need to exist. You don’t have to look far; the swathes of wildflowers beside the footpaths are a favourite spot for the bees and many other pollinating insects’.

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Wardens say ruderal bumblebees will be out on the reserve for a few more weeks before the queens start to think about hibernating.


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