Study

Colony growth of the bumblebee, Bombus terrestris, in improved and conventional agricultural and suburban habitats

  • Published source details Goulson D., Hughes W.O.H., Derwent L.C. & Stout J.C. (2002) Colony growth of the bumblebee, Bombus terrestris, in improved and conventional agricultural and suburban habitats. Oecologia, 130, 267-273.

Actions

This study is summarised as evidence for the following.

Action Category

Reintroduce laboratory-reared bumblebee colonies to the wild

Action Link
Bee Conservation

Introduce agri-environment schemes to benefit wild bees

Action Link
Bee Conservation

Pay farmers to cover the cost of conservation measures (as in agri-environment schemes)

Action Link
Farmland Conservation
  1. Reintroduce laboratory-reared bumblebee colonies to the wild

    In a replicated trial that introduced 20 commercially-reared colonies of the buff-tailed bumblebee Bombus terrestris terrestris into farms and 10 into suburban gardens in the UK in early June (Goulson et al. 2002), colonies produced an average of 160 workers. The production of new queens was variable, with averages from 21 to 36 queens/colony and no significant difference between gardens and farmland. Colonies in gardens were significantly more likely to be infested by the damaging bumblebee wax moth Aphomia sociella (average 77 larvae/nest, compared to 3-4 larvae/nest on farmland).

  2. Introduce agri-environment schemes to benefit wild bees

    Goulson et al. (2002) compared the growth of experimental B. terrestris colonies placed on 10 farms with substantial conservation measures with those placed on 10 conventional arable farms. Conservation measures included conservation headlands, set-aside and minimal use of pesticides. This study found no measurable difference between colonies on the different types of farm. The authors suggest this is because B. terrestris has a foraging range that extends beyond individual farms, which may not be true for other bumblebee species.

  3. Pay farmers to cover the cost of conservation measures (as in agri-environment schemes)

    A replicated site comparison study in southern England (Goulson et al. 2002) found no measurable difference in experimental buff-tailed bumblebee Bombus terrestris colonies in terms of colony growth, worker bee traffic, number or size of worker bees, queens and males produced or diversity of pollen collected between colonies on 10 farms with substantial conservation measures and those on 10 conventional arable farms. Conservation measures included conservation headlands, set-aside and minimal use of pesticides. Experimental bumblebee colonies were placed under hedges or shrubs on each farm, and every week nests were weighed and numbers of bees leaving and entering each colony counted for 10 minutes. Colonies were analysed after four weeks. The authors suggest the lack of difference is because the buff-tailed bumblebee has a foraging range that extends beyond individual farms, which may not be true for other bumblebee species.

     

Output references
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