Worcestershire farm attracts rare species of bumblebee

Worcestershire vegetable growers Paul and Mike Southall have discovered that one of the UK's rarest bumblebee species, Bombus ruderatus, has returned to their farm.

The insect has returned to areas of new habitat created through Syngenta's Operation Bumblebee wildflower habitats programme - which sees growers plant a special seed mix specifically designed to attract bumblebees and other insects.

Mike Southall said: "We are very proud of what we have achieved with Operation Bumblebee and the way that we manage the environment alongside our food production. Finding such a rare species as Bombus ruderatus makes it even more worthwhile."

The loss of habitat and breeding sites over the past 50 years has seen numbers of the rare bee fall dramatically, with just two sites in Worcestershire currently recording its existence. Now experts have identified this rare species on the farm.

The farm is currently in the process of harvesting dwarf green beans for Sainsbury's - which has been pioneering the Syngenta Operation Bumblebee project with all of its fresh produce suppliers.

Research and on-farm trials have shown establishing an area of just 100m by 10m of the new habitat (0.1ha) can increase bumblebee numbers by up to 600 per cent in two years, along with equally significant increases in butterflies and other insects.


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