Bumblebees do better in cities than on farms, study finds

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Image: Earth Rangers

Cities are filled with buildings, people and concrete — usually not seen as the ideal place for anything wild but nightlife.

But then there are the bumblebees of London. They may be faring better than their relatives in the English countryside, suggests a study published Tuesday in Proceedings of the Royal Society B.

“We’re not saying from this that urban areas are the solution to bumblebee declines or that urban areas are the ideal habitat,” said Ash Samuelson, a graduate student at Royal Holloway University of London in Britain and lead author of the study. “But given the choice of two unnatural situations, they’re actually able to exploit that city environment, which is very different to what they evolved in.”

Related article:  English farmers plant less rapeseed due to pest problems linked to restrictions on neonics

Bumblebees are important pollinators for flowers and crops that benefit from their vibrating pollination style. But pesticides, disease and habitat loss are wiping out all types of bees, worldwide. Oddly, as sprawling cities and vast agricultural fields replace forests and meadows, people have noticed more bumblebees buzzing around cities. Dr. Samuelson wanted to know if these bees were simply traveling to cities when agricultural fields ran out of food or if they actually were surviving better there and having more babies.

Read full, original article: Bumblebees Thrive in the City but Struggle on the Farm

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