Archive for December 7th, 2009

7th December 2009, Monday

Short-haired bumblebee reintroduction

It is intended to reintroduce this extinct bumblebee in 2010, using stock exported from Britain to New Zealand 120 years ago.  In doing this we face a number of hurdles, of which two are particularly significant.  Have we recreated enough suitable habitat for the species, and will we be able to capture enough queens to start the reintroduction?

Our initial target was to have at least ten 1 km squares with sufficient clover-rich grassland to support the bees. Infact last summer there were a total of 43 1 km squares that met this target, and more are being managed to bring them into suitable condition.

Having created the habitat will we be able to repopulate it? Last winter, when Nikki Gammans paid her first visit to New Zealand, she was only able to find drones and workers, neither of which are suitable for an introduction.  The good news is that already this winter she has found a total of 18 queens!  You can follow Nikki’s progress on this link.

NB – at 9 December 36 Queens had been captured.