Why is a bumblebee's loyalty so important?

There are 250 species of bumblebee in the world – 24 are native to the UK. Each species will stay loyal to a type of flower for as long as it’s in bloom. This is vital for the plant as the bumblebee species only carries its pollen, allowing the plant to spread optimally. But studies have shown that if the bumblebees fail to appear for duty one year, the abandoned plant will produce one-third fewer seeds. Substitute bumblebees do not prove to be effective, as they will relinquish their flower loyalty in favour of any flowers that are suddenly available, and so they end up wildly pollinating random flowers, depositing clumps of foreign pollen onto plants that simply don’t know what to do with it.


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