Derby

Bumblebee project under way in Peak District

Bumblebee Image copyright Science Photo Library
Image caption The project aims to monitor and record bee numbers in the Peak District to aid conservation work

A three-year project to boost bumblebee numbers in the Peak District has begun.

The Pollinating the Peak initiative aims to get volunteers to record sightings and help with the creation of bee habitats.

The Bumblebee Conservation Trust said numbers "have crashed" in recent decades, with some species either threatened, or extinct.

It said areas like the Peak District had suffered greatly due to a loss of habitat and farming practices.

'An important place'

Trust chief executive Lucy Rothstein said: "Most of our pollinators are under threat, bumblebees in particular.

"One of the reasons is we've lost 98% of our wildflower meadows and that's why we are running the scheme in the Peak District.

"It is such an important place for wildflower habitats."

She added: "The starting point is to understand where the bumblebees are in order to support our conservation work."

The trust said out of 24 UK bumblebee species, two were extinct - with 18 in decline.

Image copyright Neil Ingham
Image caption Numbers have declined due to loss of wildflower meadows and farming practices

Scientists believe that the destruction of their habitats - particularly wildflower meadows - has driven much of this loss.

Research also suggests pesticides are playing a role in problem.

The Moors for the Future partnership, which aims to tackle moorland erosion in the Peak District and South Pennines, is working alongside the trust to restore habitats.

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