22 Jan 2010

Lessons from the breeds and the bees

9:31 pm on 22 January 2010

Federated Farmers is hoping to learn from a project that aims to reintroduce the short-haired bumblebee in the United Kingdom, where the breed is extinct.

A team collecting bumblebees in the South Island is preparing to release them in the southern English county of Kent in June.

At least 60 queen bees have been taken from Twizel, Clyde, Lake Tekapo and Lake Ohau.

The bumblebees were brought to New Zealand about 120 years ago to fertilise clover.

The release will mark the first time a species native to the UK has been reintroduced.

John Hartnell, from Federated Farmers, says farmers here will be watching the project. He says the extinction in the UK is a lesson in protecting a valuable source of pollination.