In the center or outside? Where can you imagine bumblebees living better, among the most useful pollinating insects? According to a British study, these animals are city types: the colonies in urban or densely inhabited areas are in fact healthier than those in the countryside.

Researchers from the University of London and Imperial College London have captured some land bumblebee queens (Bombus terrestris) in an English park and placed them in special boxes in which they could nest and lay eggs. Then they placed boxes in 38 different locations between London and Basingstoke, a town of about 107, 000 inhabitants in the south of England, and monitored them for 10 weeks, visiting them once every 7 days at night, when all the members of the colony they were present.

Monitored and protected. During each visit the entomologists counted the members present in the hive and quantified pollen and nectar. They also removed the specimens of Bombus vestalis from the boxes, a species of bumblebee considered a social parasite because it lays eggs among those of the earth bumblebee, so that it can be taken care of. Finally, they counted the males able to reproduce.

surprise (or maybe not). The colonies left to develop in the cities and villages were more numerous, richer in males and food stocks, and less subject to parasite invasions than those located in agricultural areas.

Scientists are not sure of the causes of this well-being, which could be linked to several factors: in agricultural areas the crops are seasonal, with periods of abundance and waiting periods. On the contrary, in the city there are flower reserves all year round. The countryside areas are also more often sprayed with pesticides and other toxic substances for pollinators.