A new report on bees in Cornwall and Devon by nature conservation charity Buglife reveals that the number of species has fallen dramatically.
In Cornwall eight species have gone the way of the dodo, while in Devon six species have died out.
Of particular concern are Bodmin Moor, the North Cornish coast and the Lizard Peninsular (Cornwall), The South Devon Coast, Dartmoor and Exmoor (Devon).
Andrew Whitehouse, South West Manager at Buglife said “The South West remains a stronghold for some of the UK’s most threatened bee species. But, over the past 50 years we have seen the local extinction of many of the region’s special bees. Some are precariously holding on, such as the Six-banded nomad bee (Nomada sexfasciata) which has all but disappeared from the UK, except for a last remaining site in South Devon”.
Wild bees and other insect pollinators are faced with a perfect storm of pressures which have all led to their decline, these include: a loss of wildflower-rich natural and semi-natural habitats through the intensification of farming, increased use of pesticides, the loss of bee habitats to development, unpredictable and extreme weather. As a result half of the UK’s 27 bumblebee species are in decline, two-thirds of our moths and over 70% of our butterflies are in long-term decline.
Whilst it is known that bee species have declined at a national level, until the publication of this new report, no assessment has been made at the finer scale of region and county. National assessments can obscure trends at more local scales as can be seen from the results of the report.
For example, Large garden bumblebee (Bombus ruderatus) is still found in the South West, in Gloucestershire and Somerset, but over the past 50 years has disappeared from Cornwall, Devon and Dorset.
Andrew said “We need to take urgent action to reverse the declines in our bees. By making space for wildlife in our countryside and restoring the wildflower-rich habitats that bees rely upon we can offer hope for our region’s bees."