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Page last updated at 14:57 GMT, Tuesday, 7 September 2010 15:57 UK
Guernsey loses two species of bumble bee
Bumble bee
Bee populations across the British Isles have been decreasing

To the untrained eye all bumble bees may look the same but many species are under threat across the British Isles.

Charles David from La Société Guernesiaise said that there were now only five common species of bumble bee across the UK.

He added that in Guernsey the decline in numbers was particularly noticeable as two species had become extinct on the island.

He said this could cause problems with pollination in the future.

Bumble bee facts
The number of species of bumble bee found in most of lowland Britain has halved since 1950
Depending on where you live, and what flowers you grow, you may see up to a dozen bumblebee species in your garden
Pollination delivers 14.2bn euros to the European economy, most of this is through bumblebees and honeybees
Source: The Bumblebee Conservation Trust

Charles explained the possible reason: "What people suspect is that the intensification of agriculture in England, where you have enormous areas with just one sort of crop, has lowered the number of flowers so the bees have less to forage on."

Though he said this would be less of a problem in Guernsey as the island was too small for the same type of intensive farming.

One reason that Charles said may have contributed to the decline of bumbles bees in Guernsey was the number of fields being given over to grass rather than being used for crops as this would reduce the number of flowers for the bees to forage on.

The loss of any species reduces the island's biodiversity and the loss of bumble bees could have an effect on other elements of the eco-system, especially fruit plants, which they pollinate.

Another thing that has been effecting bee populations across the British Isles is climate change which has seen bees moving further north, but due to large built up areas some have been unable to successfully migrate.

Loss of bees a blow to UK economy
22 Jun 10 |  Science & Environment


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