Buff-tailed bumblebee is UK’s favourite insect, poll finds

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Britons have voted buff-tailed bumblebee as UK’s favourite insect in a poll run by the Royal Society of Biology (RSB).

Out of the almost 7,500 votes cast by Britons, the buff-tailed bumblebee (Bombus terrestris) garnered 3,033 votes (40.5 per cent votes) to become the favourite UK insect. The bumblebee makes its home in almost every lowland environment throughout the UK. Most often found buzzing its way around your garden; the bumblebee is also the main pollinator of a large proportion of UK crops, including strawberries, blackberries, tomatoes, squash and courgettes. Pollination services are therefore of critical economic importance, contributing over £400 million per year to the UK agricultural industry.

Dr Rebecca Nesbit MRSB, entomologist and member of the Royal Society of Biology said: “Seeing bumblebees buzzing around flowers in our gardens is a highlight of the British summer. I find it fascinating to watch them hard at work collecting pollen and nectar to keep their colony alive and thriving, and it’s great to know that so many people agree!

There are over 20,000 insect species in the UK but numbers are declining. The RSB poll was launched to encourage people to give UK insects the appreciation they deserve. Ecologists developed a shortlist of 10 of their favourite UK species and the poll was open to the public online in August and September 2015. Below is the list of top 10 UK insects in terms of popularity:

David Urry, member of the Royal Society of Biology said: “Insects are ubiquitous, diverse and exhibit a truly fascinating array of behaviours and traits. They also play a fundamental role in ecosystems, and human life on earth is dependent upon their continued existence. However, they are too often ignored, overlooked, or considered little more than a nuisance.”

Whilst the buff-tailed bumblebee is not a rare bee, like many other species of insect, their habitat is under threat from human activities.

Rank Species % Share Votes
1st Buff-tailed bumblebee 40.50% 3,033
2nd Seven-spot ladybird 15.20% 1139
3rd Emperor dragonfly 14.50% 1084
4th Small tortoiseshell butterfly 9% 674
5th Stag beetle 6.50% 487
6th Marmalade hoverfly 5% 373
7th Green shieldbug 2.80% 209
8th Garden tiger moth 2.70% 201
9th Black garden ant 2% 153
10th Large bee-fly 1.80% 131

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