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September 21, 2009 | by  | in News |
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Kiwi Bees to Move to the UK

No word on whether bees plan to get horribly drunk and spew on the tube on Waitangi Day

Recent advances in overcoming ‘bee jetlag’ have renewed British conservationists’ plans to repatriate New Zealand bees.

Short-haired bumble bees, introduced to New Zealand in 1875, have not been seen in the UK since 1988, and were declared extinct there in 2000.

Previous efforts to repatriate bees were unsuccessful, due to the inability of queens to breed in captivity and adapt to hemispheric differences after the long journey from New Zealand.

Czech research into the type of pollen fed to captive queens, along with plans to induce hibernation in travelling bees by keeping them cold, has given the Bumblebee Conservation Trust confidence that the repatriation plan will be successful.

The Trust hopes that the successful return of the bees will also help contribute to the survival of other British natives like water voles.

This is not the first repatriation of a species from New Zealand. Between 2003 and 2006 several dozen Tamar wallabies were taken from Kawau Island, where they are pests, back to their native South Australia.

Doctor Who fans spoken to by Salient expressed confusion about the bee plan.

When asked for comment, one fan gave this reporter a quizzical look and asked “But they left because of the Daleks, didn’t they?”

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  1. Renee Lyons says:

    Dr Who reference – Win! :D

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