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Last Updated: Monday, 16 April 2007, 11:39 GMT 12:39 UK
Bid to halt bumblebee decline
The Bombus hortorum is a common species of British bumblebee
A national drive to help boost the number of bumblebees in Britain has been launched.

Campaigners from the Bumblebee Conservation Trust are calling on the public to take part in a bumblebee survey to catalogue different species.

Conservationists from the University of Stirling want gardeners to help them get a better idea of the national distribution of bumblebees.

Studies show that in recent years three species have become extinct in Britain.

Ben Darvill from the trust said there was a lot the public could do to help.

He said: "People will be surprised to hear that there are actually 25 different species of bumblebee and six or so of them are common in people's gardens.

"But a lot of the others are seriously threatened, in fact three of them are already nationally extinct."

Studies show that three species of the insect have become extinct in Britain, while another nine are endangered.

Styles of plants

Researches said the decline was largely down to changes in the countryside with a reduction in flowers, hedges and marshland.

Mr Darvill said bee numbers could be increased by simply changing the plants grown in gardens.

He said: "Gardeners can do a lot to help just by planting the right sorts of plants in their garden by moving away from traditional bedding plants to more cottage garden styles of plants."

Those wishing to take part in the survey are being asked to record the bumblebees in their area by taking photographs and emailing the trust.

How the public can help the bumblebee

Trust to launch bumblebee watch
02 Apr 07 |  Highlands and Islands
Rare bumblebee to be researched
01 Apr 07 |  Highlands and Islands
Bumblebee reserve appeal launched
28 Jul 06 |  Highlands and Islands
Homing instinct of bees surprises
26 Jul 06 |  Science/Nature
Move to save UK's threatened bees
22 May 06 |  Tayside and Central
Study to save dying bumble bees
19 Sep 04 |  Hampshire

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