Jersey

Jersey beekeeper says mild autumn is affecting insects

Honey bee
Image caption Beekeeper Bob Tompkins said the mild weather was a threat

Concern has been expressed that the dry, mild weather is threatening Jersey's native insects.

Beekeeper Bob Tompkins said he had noticed an increasing number of European species were moving in and competing with local insects.

He fears the conditions are changing the insects' behaviour and could have a knock-on effect on other wildlife.

He said he had found an unusually large number of Harlequin ladybirds in his hives recently.

'Still late summer'

Mr Tompkins said it was an invasive species that preys on the local ladybird population and is not good for the local environment.

He said: "It is really tilting the balance on a whole series of insects, this weather, as well things like bumblebees which would normally be going into hibernation.

"The Queens which are the ones you can see around now are still active and... they're eating into their fat supplies that would see them through the winter months."

He is also concerned the breeding patterns of insects will be affected by the mild autumn.

Mr Tompkins said: "All these insects need a specific time of cold weather so they can get themselves ready for the early spring for their particular breeding time.

"It's the cold weather that should really trigger them, so they're not really actually into that mode at all yet; to them it's still late summer."

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