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Last Updated: Monday July 23 2007 10:00 GMT

Bumblebees 'love tatty gardens'

A bumblebee

Overgrown gardens are one of the bumblebee's favourite nesting places, a survey has revealed.

The numbers of some types of bumblebee have gone down in the last 50 years and wildlife campaigners are looking at ways of protecting the creature.

They've discovered that weeds and long grass are very popular with the insects, so people who don't care for gardening are doing them a favour.

More than 700 people took part in the National Bumblebee Nest Survey.

Most nests were found in gardens, but farm fences and hedgerows were also popular.

One of the people behind the survey said: "Bumblebees are happier in gardens that are not perfectly tended.

"If you can leave some of the grass uncut, and a few areas looking slightly untidy, that's what they love."

Size

Bumblebee nests can be compared to the size of a tennis ball up to that of a football.

Usually, there are no more than 50 bees, but it's possible to have up to 300.