Bumblebees are better in Boulder

According to new research at the University of Colorado Boulder native bumble bee populations have remained stable in Boulder county. None of the 22 native species of bees have shown declines over a five year period.

KUSA - Now even the bumblebees are better in Boulder.

According to new research at the University of Colorado Boulder, native bumblebee populations have remained stable in Boulder County.

None of the 22 native species of bees have shown declines over a five-year period.

Researchers conducted the study between 2010 and 2014.

Small groups of students and volunteers went out two to three times a week during the summer months and capture bees, studying them, then letting them go.

Overall, they collected more than 6,000 bees, which included 22 species. All but one of the species that were in the county before 1970 were still present. According to CU, the species that wasn’t found – Bombus auricomus – is rarely seen in Boulder. 

The species is typically found on the eastern plains of Colorado.

CU said in a release, “the eastern bumblebee, Bombus pensylvanicus, was previously believed to be on the decline in the country, but females and males were found at several sites. The western bumblebee, Bombus occidentalis, is easily identified by its white rear end, has been documented to be in sharp decline nationwide.”

The researchers say it shows Boulder County is doing something right in maintain as much green space and floral resources as it has.

The research wasn’t all good.  According to CU, the males of one species, Bombus nevadensis, were emerging in late spring, which is far earlier than their typical late-summer arrival.

Researchers on the study say this could be the result of days getting warmer sooner, because of climate change; the presence of unfertilized queens that did not find mates; or excessive inbreeding, which can be a signal of pending decline.

© 2017 KUSA-TV


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