Professor Mark Brown from the University of London, gave a talk on 'The ecology and conservation of bumblebees', in which he looked into the biological technicalities of bees in general, before demonstrating the ecological significance of bumble bees in particular. Professor Brown focused on the nature of bees, the way they socialise in colonies and how their foraging for nectar within flowers and subsequent distribution of pollen is of absolute importance. However, he also showed the dramatic decline of all species of bees in Britain due to the destruction of habitat, the increased use of chemical pesticides, viruses and parasites. He did acknowledge that some species have declined far more than others for reasons that are still unknown. Professor Brown moved on to show that conservation efforts can be successful, seen when the short-haired bumblebee, extinct in England, was reintroduced from a healthy population found in Sweden, proving both the viability of conservation and that there is still hope for bumblebees.

James Piggot RDO-C