Individual study: Nest-searching and foraging queen bumblebees Bombus spp. are attracted to agri-environment scheme options on lowland arable farms in East and Central Scotland
Lye G., Park K., Osborne J., Holland J. & Goulson D. (2009) Assessing the value of Rural Stewardship schemes for providing forage resources and nesting habitat for bumblebee queens (Hymenoptera: Apidae). Biological Conservation, 142, 2023-2032
Many bumblebee species Bombus spp. have suffered severe declines in the UK, widely thought to be due to agricultural intensification. The bumblebee population is most vulnerable in Spring, when individual queens found colonies. This study examined the attractiveness of three Rural Stewardship Scheme (RSS) options to nest-searching and foraging Spring queen bumblebees on lowland arable farms in Scotland.
Five farms that signed RSS management plans in 2004 were chosen in East and Central Scotland. Each had at least one example of the following options:
On RSS farms, agri-environment scheme transects attracted significantly more nest-searching and foraging queen bumblebees than conventionally managed transects. RSS field margins attracted nest-searching and foraging queens at the highest densities - about nine nest-searching queens and over three foraging queens/100 m, compared to around five nest-searchers and less than one forager/100 m for conventional field margins.
Hedgerows were least attractive to spring queens. There was no significant difference in numbers of foraging or nesting queens between RSS and conventional hedgerows.
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