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Diversity in UK gardens aiding fight to save threatened bumblebees, study suggests
Date:3/19/2014

ly visited plants in proportion to flower availability. Indeed, of the six most commonly visited garden plants, only one Foxglove was a British native and only three of Palaearctic origin.

Among individual species, however, there were distinct preferences, with the long-tongued 'garden bumblebee' (Bombus hortorum) showing a strong preference for 'native' Palaearctic-origin garden plants, choosing them for 78% of its flower visits. Meanwhile, the UK's most common species the 'buff-tailed bumblebee' (Bombus terrestris) favoured non-Palaearctic garden plants over species with which it shares a common evolutionary heritage.

Dr Hanley added: "As a general rule, bees will go wherever there are flowers available. However, if native plants were to disappear completely from our towns and cities, the long-term survival of some of our common pollinators like the 'garden bumblebee' could be in jeopardy. In addition to growing truly native plants like foxgloves, where possible, gardeners can help native pollinators by setting aside a small area to allow native brambles, vetches, dead nettles, and clovers to grow. But as long as some native species are available in nearby allotments, parks, or other green spaces, a combination of commonly-grown garden plants from all around the globe will help support our urban bumblebees for future generations."


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Contact: Alan Williams
44-175-258-8004
University of Plymouth
Source:Eurekalert  

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Diversity in UK gardens aiding fight to save threatened bumblebees, study suggests
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