Awareness of biodiversity
Status of biodiversity
Threats to biodiversity
Measures that safeguard biodiversity
Measures that mainstream biodiversity
Benefits derived from biodiversity and ecosystem services
Impacts on biodiversity outside of Ireland
Knowledge of Irish biodiversity
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Bumblebee populations are sensitive to changes in climate, land-use and agricultural practices at moderate to large spatial and temporal scales. Of the 98 bee species in Ireland, 20 are bumblebees. However, in terms of the numbers of individual bees, bumblebees typically comprise more than 80% of Irish wild bee communities, hence their prominence as our most important group of pollinating insects (Murray et al., 2012). At present, seven species bumblebee are under threat of extinction in Ireland (Fitzpatrick et al., 2006).
This indicator is derived from systematic monitoring schemes coordinated by the All-Ireland Bumblebee Monitoring Scheme and the National Biodiversity Data Centre in collaboration with the Bumblebee Conservation Trust in Northern Ireland, and is first national-level bumblebee recording scheme in the world. Trailed in 2011 and running since 2012, the monitoring scheme currently has ca. 105 sites walked by 80 citizen-scientists distributed across the island Ireland recording bumblebee species and abundance using a fixed-width transect count method along a 1-2 km route, each month between March and October. It is also a key component of the All-Ireland Pollinator Plan 2015-2020 in terms of tracking implementation of the Plan and its impact on our wild pollinator populations.
The population data from each species is analysed using TRIM (Trends and Indices for Monitoring data; Pannekoek & van Strien, 2005), a programme to analyse time-series of counts with missing observations using Poisson regression. Each year, the geometric mean of the indices for each species is calculated and a 95% confidence interval estimated by Monte Carlo simulation (Soldaat et al., 2017).
Across eight common and widespread species, the highest bumblebee populations observed since the monitoring scheme began in 2012 were recorded in 2013 and the lowest in 2018. Given the variability in bumblebee populations, a moderate decline of 5.3 ± 2.9% p.a. has been detected over the past seven years, equating to an overall decline of 16.6 ± 17.7% since 2012. The annual rate of decline is statistically significant, but the overall decline is not. It will be 2021 before a 10-year multi-species trend can be reported. On a per species basis, from 2012-2018, 2 are in decline and 6 are too variable to assign statistically rigorous trend. A further 13 species lack sufficient data for their population sizes to be formally assessed.
More information on the All-Ireland Bumblebee Monitoring Scheme can be found here:
More information on the All-Ireland Pollinator Plan 2015-2020 can be found here:
The International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Regional Red List for Irish bees is available here: http://www.npws.ie/publications/redlists/
The International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) European Red List for Bees is available here: https://www.iucn.org/content/european-red-list-bees
More information on the Bumblebee Conservation Trust, U.K. can be found here:
Fitzpatrick, Ú., Murray, T.E., Byrne, A., Paxton, R.J. & Brown, M.J.F. (2006) Regional Red List of Irish Bees. National Parks and Wildlife Service (Ireland) and Environment and Heritage Service (N. Ireland). http://www.npws.ie/publications/redlists/Fitzpatrick_et_al_2006_Bee_Red_List.pdf
Murray, T.E., Fitzpatrick, Ú., Byrne, A., Fealy, R., Brown, M.J.F., Paxton, R.J. 2012. Local-scale factors structure wild bee communities in protected areas. Journal of Applied Ecology 49: 998-1008.
Pannekoek, J., van Strien, A. 2005. TRIM 3 manual. TRends and Indices for Monitoring data. Research Project No. 100384. Voorburg, The Netherlands: Statistics Netherlands. http://www.cbs.nl/en-GB/menu/themas/natuur-milieu/methoden/trim/default.htm
Soldaat., L.L., Pannekoek, J., Verweij, R.J.T., van Turnhout, C.A.M., van Strien, A.J. 2017. A Monte Carlo method to account for sampling error in multi-species indicators. Ecological Indicators 81: 340-347.
Bumblebee populations are sensitive to changes in climate, land-use and agricultural practices at moderate to large spatial and temporal scales, and provide the essential ecosystem service of pollination. This indicator is based on population trends of native bumblebees from the All-Ireland Bumblebee Monitoring Scheme co-ordinated by the National Biodiversity Data Centre.