The Plight of the Bumblebee Collection
There are currently 24 species of bumblebee resident in Britain. Another, the short-haired bumblebee is currently being reintroduced after going extinct in 1988. Yet sadly, the story of bumblebees over the past century has been one of decline. Two species became extinct in the UK during the 20th century and a further eight species are currently listed on at least one of the English, Welsh and Scottish conservation priority species lists due to their large-scale declines in distribution.
These declines have occurred mainly because of changes to the way the countryside is managed. First the mechanisation of agriculture; then later the public demand for cheap food, the need for ever-greater quantities of food and crops, and the increasing reluctance to buy ‘wonky’ fruit and vegetables, have all conspired to reduce the nationwide density of the flowering plants on which bumblebees feed, as well as the sheltered corners in which they nest and overwinter. Rachel has the ability to bring matters of importance into her art for others to appreciate and take notice. This was her intention when she started work on her latest ‘bee project’.