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Residents are reminded to ‘bee’ nice to bumblebees this summer, following reports that nests are being destroyed around the borough.

In the last 80 years, UK bumblebee populations have crashed. Two species have become nationally extinct and several others have declined dramatically.

Bumblebees are an important and cherished component of our biodiversity. With the warmer weather, Bumblebee populations spike. However, there have been reports in Richmond upon Thames that some people are poisoning nests near their homes as they are concerned that the insects are dangerous and could cause structural damage to buildings.

Richmond Council is encouraging residents not to attack any nests. Normally bumblebee nests live for around 2-3 months, they do not cause any structural damage and they do not swarm. They are also not aggressive insects and are generally only interested in finding flowers. The only time when they may act defensively is if something disturbs their nest.

Tasha Hunter, Richmond Council’s Ecology Policy and Planning Officer, said:

“We need bumblebees to help maintain our beautiful, flowered borough. “Bumblebees are familiar and much-loved insects that pollinate our crops and wildflowers. Indeed, bees pollinate a third of everything we eat and play a vital role in sustaining the planet’s ecosystems.

“We must do all we can to halt their decline and to protect them and their habitats.

“We know that people do get anxious when they find a bumblebee nest. But, rather than seek to destroy it, I ask residents to research the bees first or ask for advice, before they reach for the poison.”