City bumblebees fare better than those on farms

Buff-tailed bumblebees (Bombus terrestris) fared better in London’s cities than in agricultural fields. ©Martin Cooper

Bumblebees that live in cities and villages seem to be faring better than bumblebees using agricultural fields as habitat, according to new research. To determine how the bees were faring in these two different environments, researchers collected more than 100 wild queen buff-tailed bumblebees (Bombus terrestris), took them to a lab to build colonies and transplanted the colonies to 38 different sites, including London’s city center, surrounding villages, suburbs and farms. They found the bees in cities and villages had more reproductive offspring, more workers and longer living queens than those on agricultural land. They also found colonies broke down faster in agricultural lands and had fewer nutrient reserves.

Read more in the New York Times or read the study published in Proceedings of the Royal Society B.