“The Pollinator Monitoring and Research Partnership (PMRP) aims to establish how insect pollinator populations are changing across Great Britain.
We are working with existing recording schemes that focus on pollinating insects, and have established new large-scale surveys under the UK Pollinator Monitoring Scheme banner (PoMS)
PoMS is the only scheme in the world generating systematic data on the abundance of bees, hoverflies and other flower-visiting insects at a national scale (currently across England, Wales and Scotland). Together with long-term occurrence records collated by the Bees, Wasps and Ants Recording Society and Hoverfly Recording Scheme, these data will form an invaluable resource from which to measure trends in pollinator populations and target our conservation efforts.
With reports of dramatic losses of insects occurring across the globe, and concern about what this means for wider biodiversity and ecosystem health, there has never been a more important time to document evidence of change in populations of pollinating insects.
FIT Counts: if you can spare ten minutes to sit and watch insects and flowers you can carry out a FIT Count (Flower-Insect Timed Count)! This simple survey collects data on the total number of insects that visit a particular flower, ideally chosen from our list of 14 target flowers. FIT Counts can be done anywhere, including gardens and parks, in warm, dry weather any time from April to September. If you can carry out several counts at one location during that time you will be adding extra value to your survey records. All the information you need is provided on their web site:”
The Guardian newspaper reports – “The world’s insects are hurtling down the path to extinction, threatening a “catastrophic collapse of nature’s ecosystems”, according to the first global scientific review.
More than 40% of insect species are declining and a third are endangered, the analysis found. The rate of extinction is eight times faster than that of mammals, birds and reptiles. The total mass of insects is falling by a precipitous 2.5% a year, according to the best data available, suggesting they could vanish within a century.”
Scientist Brad Lister returned to Puerto Rican rainforest after 35 years to find 98% of ground insects had vanished. A “bottom-up trophic cascade”, in which the knock-on effects of the insect collapse surge up through the food chain.
“I don’t think most people have a systems view of the natural world,” Lister said. “But it’s all connected and when the invertebrates are declining the entire food web is going to suffer and degrade. It is a system-wide effect.”
To understand the global scale of an insect collapse that has so far only been glimpsed, Lister says, there is an urgent need for much more research in many more habitats. “More data, that is my mantra,” he said.
The problem is that there were very few studies of insect numbers in past decades to serve as a baseline, but Lister is undeterred: “There’s no time like the present to start asking what’s going on.”
A trend of planting wildflowers on solar sites could maintain habitat for disappearing bees and butterflies. A Scientific American article …
Benjamin F. Kaluza1, Helen M.Wallace, TimA. Heard, Vanessa Minden,
Alexandra Klein & Sara D. Leonhard
“Bee population declines are often linked to human impacts, especially habitat and biodiversity loss, but empirical evidence is lacking. To clarify the link between biodiversity loss and bee decline, we examined how floral diversity affects (reproductive) fitness and population growth of a social stingless bee. For the frst time, we related available resource diversity and abundance to resource (quality and quantity) intake and colony reproduction, over more than two years. Our results reveal plant diversity as key driver of bee fitness. Social bee colonies were ftter and their populations grew faster in more forally diverse environments due to a continuous supply of food resources. Colonies responded to high plant diversity with increased resource intake and colony food stores. Our fndings thus point to biodiversity loss as main reason for the observed bee decline.”
Read the paper published in Nature:- social_bees_are fitter_in_a more_biodiverse_environment
Buglife Cymru is launching the Wales Threatened Bee Report, the first report of its kind to examine the health of our most threatened wild bee species. Alarmingly, the report has found that seven of our bees have gone extinct in Wales, and a further five – such as the Long-fringed mini-mining bee (Andrena niveata) – are on the brink of extinction. Most of the wild bees species assessed by the report have suffered significant declines, including the Shrill carder bee (Bombus sylvarum) whose core populations are now confined to South Wales, raising concerns about the future prospects of these species.
By examining historical and modern data, Buglife Cymru found that many wild bees in Wales are found in fewer places than they have been found in the past, and face an uncertain future. They also found wild bee declines to be evident across the whole of Wales. Buglife Cymru are now calling for action to restore populations of declining wild bees in Wales.
Bees emerge in early spring… starving. Dandelions are richer in both pollen and nectar – and bloom earlier – than most other spring flowers. We need to ensure that dandelions aren’t treated as mere weeds as their pollen prolongs bees’ life. See –
The wildlife charity Buglife say – “B-Lines are a proposed solution to the problem of the loss of flowers and pollinators. The B-Lines are a series of ‘insect pathways’ running through our countryside and towns, along which we are restoring and creating a series of wildflower-rich habitat stepping stones.
Much of our wildlife is confined to tiny fragments of habitat and unable to move across the countryside as our climate and landscape rapidly changes. It has been predicted that 40-70% of species could go extinct if action is not taken to enable species to move through the landscape.”
See the map of proposed B-Lines:-
The Guardian newspaper report:-
“Insects’ acquired taste for pesticide-laced food is similar to nicotine addiction in smokers, say scientists.
Bumblebees acquire a taste for pesticide-laced food that can be compared to nicotine addiction in smokers, say scientists. The more of the nicotine-like chemicals they consume, the more they appear to want, a study has shown. The findings suggest that the risk of potentially harmful pesticide-contaminated nectar entering bee colonies is higher than was previously thought.
In a series of studies, a team of British researchers offered bumblebees a choice of two sugar solutions, one of which was laced with neonicotinoid pesticides. They found that over time the bees increasingly preferred feeders containing the pesticide-flavoured sugar.”
The Royal Horticultural Society web page “How gardeners can help our declining bees and other pollinators” includes a list of suppliers of organic, pesticide free, plants.