Mixed Fortunes For Scilly’s Bees

A photo of the Scilly Bee taken by Elizabeth Clements

A photo of the Scilly Bee taken by Elizabeth Clements

A new report suggests that up to 8 species of bee could be extinct across Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly with a further 11 under threat.

The data, published by wildlife charity Buglife, is the first time the information has been recorded at the county level, although separate figures for Scilly weren’t included.

Julie Love from Scilly’s Wildlife trust says we have six bee species on the islands.

While she couldn’t confirm if any of our bees have become extinct, she said both the Scilly bee and the red-tailed bumblebee are both in severe decline.

Julie says this is due to a lack of nesting areas and foraging grounds, as well as climate change.

One type of bee, the early bumblebee is a recent addition to the Scilly. It’s thought to have flown over from the mainland, while another, the buff-tailed bumblebee is actually increasing in numbers.

Unfortunately this species is also now active all year round and gets the best nesting areas, says Julie, at the expense of some of our rare bees.

The distance from the mainland means Scilly has remained free of the varroa mite, which has devastated bee colonies on the mainland.