New report highlights uncertain future for Welsh wild bees

Thursday 18th October 2018

Today 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.

Liam Olds, Buglife Cymru said “While the decline in our wild bees is alarming, there is still hope for the future. These declines can be reversed by restoring lost flower-rich habitats and connecting up those that remain, allowing wild bees to move through our landscape. This is exactly what our Wales B-Lines initiative aims to achieve. Through a combination of targeted species conservation action and a more general approach to improving the condition of our countryside for pollinators, we can work to reverse these declines and prevent further extinctions in Wales”.

Pollinating insects such as bees, moths and hoverflies are essential for the health of our countryside and our future health and prosperity. An estimated 85% of all wildflower and flowering crop species depend upon, or are enhanced by, insect pollination – effective pollination is therefore crucial for human nutrition, food security and a healthy functioning ecosystem.

However, many of our pollinating insects are in serious decline. Wild bees (bumblebees and solitary bees) show among the most severe declines of any UK pollinator and for some, Wales now supports the last known populations in the UK. Buglife’s Wales Threatened Bee Report adds to our knowledge of the health of Wales’ pollinator populations, and has revealed that some of our most vulnerable bees are threatened with extinction.

For more details about the report