Friends of Earth want Scotland to Bee active

Great Yellow Bumblebee

Great Yellow Bumblebee

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The Great Yellow Bumblebee can now only be found in north and west Scotland, according to a University of Reading study.

The lack of bees in the Brechin area was recently a topic at the City of Brechin and District Community Council meeting, where discussion concentrated on the possibility of planting bee friendly flowers to help dwindling numbers.

Friends of the Earth’s Bee Cause campaign is now calling on Scottish bee-lovers to help reverse fortunes of the Great Yellow bumblebee.

Britain has over 250 bee species, but numbers have fallen dramatically in recent years, affected by disease, chemicals and habitat loss.

According to the University of Reading research, the decline is largely due to the loss of flower rich habitats for the species.

The best places to spot the Great Yellow Bumblebee include Caithness, the Outer Hebrides, Orkney, Coll and Tiree.

Many regions in the north and west of Scotland, traditionally maintained by low-intensity farming, have been replaced by intensive farming and heavy grazing.

Loss of suitable habitat means populations become fragmented. This weakens the bees leaving them more prone to disease and parasites.

Leading bee expert from the University of Reading, Professor Simon Potts, said: “The way we farm and use land across the UK has pushed many rare bees into serious decline.

“I’m calling on the government to act swiftly to save these iconic creatures which are essential to a thriving environment and our food supply.”

Sandra Bell, Friends of the Earth Nature campaigner said: “The iconic Great Yellow Bumblebee is in real trouble.

“But people in Scotland can change all that with simple practical actions and by urging their MPs to play their part. Let’s make 2013 the year of the bee.”