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Stay up to date with the Bumblebee Conservation Trust’s latest news and happenings right here.

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NERC video showcases bumblebee science at work

Last week, NERC (the Natural Environment Research Council) recognised and rewarded eight of its scientists for a range of work, which has achieved exceptional economic and social benefit both to the UK and internationally. As noted on our new page at the time, bumblebee scientist Dr Peter Graystock was one of these scientists and received £5000 prize money towards his future research.

A short film about Dr Graystock's research has now been released and can be viewed by clicking on the image below.

Dr Peter Graystock NERC video

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Unique Chesterfield pollination conference launches Peak District campaign for bees

With concerns growing about the future of Britain’s bumblebees, a unique interactive Pollination Conference for all ages will be held in Chesterfield, Derbyshire on Thursday 30 April – exploring the beauty and importance of bees and pollinators, and launching a major Pollinating the Peak campaign by Bumblebee Conservation Trust.

The Chesterfield Pollination Conference – at the Winding Wheel Theatre, Holywell Street from 9am to 5pm – will allow people to learn more about pollination and how to help bees, including by managing gardens or land in a pollinator-friendly way. The event will feature two distinct elements – a conference and an exhibition. Places are free for both, but conference places are limited and need to be booked in advance.

Gill Perkins, Conservation Manager at Bumblebee Conservation Trust, said: “We want to inspire people across the Peak District and surrounding areas to learn more about bumblebees and pollinators, and how to help these wonderful insects – whether by creating habitat, monitoring their populations or other actions.”

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Bumblebee brains affected by neonicotinoids

New research has emerged from the Universities of Dundee and St. Andrews which shows that accepted environmental levels of neonicotinoids impair bumblebee brain functionality and consequently negatively impact the performance of whole colonies.


The research, published in the Journal of the Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology, is the first to demonstrate that the levels of neonicotinoids commonly found in the pollen and nectar of treated plants affect bumblebee brains. The results show that very low levels of neonicotinoids could cause up to a 55% reduction of living bees found in a colony and up to a 71% reduction in healthy brood cells.
On these findings one of the researchers Dr Chris Connolly said: “Our research demonstrates beyond doubt that the level of neonicotinoids generally accepted as the average level present in the wild causes brain dysfunction and colonies to perform poorly when consumed by bumblebees,” he said. “In fact, our research showed that the ability to perturb brain cells can be found at 1/5 to 1/10 of the levels that people think are present in the wild.

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Congratulations to Dr Peter Graystock, runner-up in this year’s NERC Award!

The Bumblebee Conservation Trust would like to offer its congratulations to Dr Peter Graystock, who has been named runner-up in this year’s Early Career Impact NERC (the Natural Environment Research Council) Award.

Peter has been recognised by NERC for his scientific research looking at the conservation implications of importing commercial bumblebee colonies. His work, conducted at the University of Leeds in partnership with the Bumblebee Conservation Trust, found that bumblebees imported for commercial use in the UK were infested with a range of parasites upon their arrival. These findings indicate that our native wild bumblebees could be at risk of infection from commercial bumblebees, something which Natural England have taken on board and has prompted them to tighten the licensing regime for those wishing to purchase commercial bumblebees. They have also heavily restricted imports of non-native commercial bumblebees, which is great news for our wild native species.

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‘Pollinating the Peak’’ conference: book your place!

Join us for our 'Pollinating the Peak' conference!

Taking place in Chesterfield on April 30th 2015, the programme includes a conference for those who want to learn more about pollination and managing their gardens or land for bees.

There will also be an all-day exhibition with lots of interactive exhibits including activities for children, beekeeping demonstrations and a chance to see live bumblebees in the bumblarium. There is no need to book to see the exhibition, but places at the conference should be booked by using the forms below.

The full conference programme can be downloaded by clicking here. Places are free for both, but conference places are limited and need to be booked in advance.

The conference and exhibition will be at The Winding Wheel, Holywell Street, Chesterfield