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Bumblebees Make Comeback

Bumblebees have made a strong comeback this year. The insect is the most important pollinator in Finnish nature. Both farmers and wildlife experts were highly concerned at the near collapse of the bumblebee population in recent years.

Image: Jari Flinck

Researchers are only now beginning to put together the reasons for the recent drop in population. Larry Huldén, of the Finnish Museum of Natural History, explains that weather conditions in the past two to three years have been particularly bad for the bee.

This year, however, all the right conditions have been met and the bumblebee population is experiencing a boom.

The bumblebee queen is the only individual of the hive to hibernate. She hatches and takes care of the year's first generation of bumblebees, but if the weather in bad or there's a lack of food, only a few of these worker bees survive, and these may be stunted. The survivors in turn take care of the queen while she hatches the next generation. Again, if resources are scarce or weather unfavourable, the second generation can also fail.

Honeybees and wasps have also suffered a similar drop in populations, are also doing well this year. At some point, researchers feared that the various bee populations were being wiped out by the same kind of plague that is destroying these insects in the United States, but this has been disproven.

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