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Introduction and reintroduction
B. subterraneus was one of four species of bumblebee introduced into New Zealand from the United Kingdom between 1885 and 1906 for pollination of red clover. In New Zealand, it is the rarest of the four species, with small numbers at a few locations in inland South Island. The last recorded sighting of B. subterraneus in the United Kingdom was in 1988 and it is believed extinct there. A programme was started in 2009 to reintroduce it to the United Kingdom with queen bees from New Zealand. The programme was run by Natural England, the Bumblebee Conservation Trust, the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds and bee and wasp charity Hymettus. However, this was not a success, as many of the queens died during hibernation. DNA analysis of the New Zealand bees showed they lacked genetic diversity. In 2012, a second attempt was made to reintroduce the short-haired bumblebee using queens from Skåne province of southern Sweden. By the summer of 2013, workers of the species were found within 5 kilometres of the reintroduction site, showing that nesting had been successful.
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- Kasprzak, Emma (5 May 2012) How UK's humble bee project led to Swedish outrage BBC News England, Accessed 28 May 2012
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- "The Short-haired bumblebee reintroduction". Bumblebee Conservation Trust. Retrieved 19 February 2015.