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During the last decades, bumblebees (Bombus spp.) have declined in Europe , most likely as a result of agricultural practises. The aim of this study was to describe flower utilisation, landscape element utilisation and the phenology of different bumblebee species in three landscapes in southeastern Sweden . In one of the landscapes, the stability in landscape element utilisation between years was examined as well. The number of bumblebee species found in this study was higher than normally found in Western Europe . More species were observed in a heterogeneous landscape (14 spp.) compared to an intensively agricultural landscape (10 spp.) and a landscape dominated by forest (10 spp.). Most species were observed in semi-natural grasslands. This landscape element was also one of the most stable in bumblebee abundance and diversity between years, compared to leys and road verges that are disturbed by cutting. Bumblebees preferred several plant species, but flowers belonging to Fabaceae and particularly Trifolium seemed important for a majority of the bumblebees. Long-tongued species paid most visits to Fabaceae and short-tongued to Asteraceae. An earlier peak in bumblebee abundance (middle of July) was observed in the forested landscape compared to the heterogeneous and agricultural landscapes (beginning of August), most likely caused by lower amount of late flowering plant species in the forest landscape. This study shows the importance of heterogeneous landscapes for bumblebees. Flower-rich landscape elements need to be considered in conservation plans to preserve bumblebee species in heterogeneous landscapes.

Responsible for this page: Agneta Johansson
Last updated: 05/31/07