With the start of the 2019 Bumblebee Monitoring Scheme today, the project co-ordinator Tomás Murray provides an update on what the latest data from the scheme is telling us.
Our network of 76 citizen scientists monitoring 106 sites across the island of Ireland have put in another excellent year of bumblebee monitoring. Despite the ‘Beast from the East’ (and slow thaw afterwards) preventing many from completing their March walk, we still collectively spent 538 hours, walked 935 km and recorded 10,614 bumblebees in 2018 – an enormous contribution from our recorders in the scheme for which we cannot thank them enough.
Unfortunately, this was the second poor year in-a-row for our bumblebees populations with both the timing and extremes in weather experienced last year not suiting many species. Counts across the board were down by an average of 25% on 2017 and 17% since 2012, particularly in our widespread and common species such as the Common Carder (B.pascuroum) and White-tailed (B. lucorum agg.) bumblebees. It was not all bad news with some of our more ‘variable’ species such as the Heath Bumble-bee (B. jonellus) and the Red-tailed Bumblebee (B. lapidarius) populations increasing by 4-18% on 2017. In addition, the latest arrival to our shores, the Tree Bumblebee (B. hypnorum), looks very likely to be successfully breeding in Ireland with confirmed sightings of a male recorded in University College Dublin last June and freshly emerged queen sighted in Belfast just this week. For the full report, please click on the image below: