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

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Shrill carder week

Surveys carried out during Shrill carder week found three of these scarce bees in Pembrokeshire, Wales, but none in the Somerset Levels in the south west of England.

Two Shrill carder bees (Bombus sylvarum) were found at the Ministry of Defence’s Castlemartin Range - with ITV Wales on hand to record the find. Another was found at the National Trust’s Gupton Farm site.

While no Shrill carders were seen in Somerset, a good number of rare Moss carder bees (Bombus muscorum) were recorded during surveys of five areas around the Avalon Marshes Centre.

Moss carder bees were also spotted at the Gupton and Castlemartin Range sites, in addition to Brown-banded carder bees (Bombus humilis) and Broken-belted bumblebees (Bombus soroeensis), both of which were recorded at the latter site.

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BBCT calls for a National Pollinator Strategy for Scotland

The Bumblebee Conservation Trust (BBCT) today called on the Scottish Parliament to follow the lead of England and Wales in drawing up a National Pollinator Strategy. 

The call follows a debate about pollinators in the Scottish Parliament.

Chief Executive Lucy Rothstein welcomed the debate but said more needed to be done to preserve these important insects.

“We applaud the debate today but we are very concerned with the referendum coming up - and the changes which are likely either way - that this issue will fall off the table and not get addressed,” she said.

“It is essential Scotland looks at this and moves forward now with the development of its own pollinator strategy which addresses more than just honeybees and considers all pollinators, including bumblebees.”

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Shrill carder bees spread their wings

Several rare Shrill carder bees have been found at Cadoxton Ponds Nature Reserve in Barry, South Wales.

It is the first time this bumblebee – which is on the brink of extinction – has been found at the reserve adjacent to the Dow Corning manufacturing site.

The discovery was made by conservation officers from the Bumblebee Conservation Trust (BBCT) and the Wildlife Trust of South and West Wales (WTSWW) - which works in partnership with Dow Corning to manage the reserve.

The Shrill carder (Bombus sylvarum), named because of its characteristic high pitched buzz, is one of the two rarest bumblebees in the UK with populations of this charismatic species now confined to Wales and Southern England. The nearest previous sightings of this bumblebee were 4km to the east of this site. 

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Join the hunt to find one of Britain’s rarest bees

Today is the start of Shrill carder week - a chance to search for one of Britain’s rarest bees and discover why bumblebees are so important in the UK.

The Bumblebee Conservation Trust is hosting two events in Pembrokeshire and one in Somerset in a bid to get local volunteers involved in helping to spot this elusive bumblebee.

The Shrill carder is a distinctive bee which can be identified by its pale grey-yellow colouring, black band of hair between the wings and reddish-orange tail.

It has declined dramatically in the last century, making it one of the UK’s rarest bumblebees. Now only found in seven areas in southern England and Wales, it is a priority species for the Bumblebee Conservation Trust to monitor.

For more information about the events can be found on our calendar.

If you are unable to attend one of these events, but live in South Wales, the Somerset Levels or North Kent, why not take a walk and see if you can spot and photograph a shrill carder.  

You can also upload your pictures to our BeeWatch site here.

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Celebrities create a buzz for bumblebees!

The Bumblebee Conservation Trust and a few celebrity friends are on a mission to help save the UK's bumblebees. 

We have created  a video that asks celebrities why the bumblebee is so important to society, to really drive home the message of how vital bumblebees are. Responsible for pollinating our crops and wildflowers, ensuring the food we need can grow and be harvested, bumblebees are a necessary part of our existence. 

We have teamed up with Ben Fogle, Valentine Warner, Martha Kearney and even Sabrina the Teenage witch, Melissa Joan Hart, among others to create a video that highlights some of the more important reasons as to why we need the bumblebee to exist and what losing the bumblebee would really mean.  

The video also shows celebrities stating that without bumblebees, many of our favourite foods would disappear, such as tomatoes, peas and beans. Bumblebees are Britain’s wild pollinating workforce, and without them strawberries, apples and raspberries will be far too expensive to purchase, as farmers would need to hand pollinate or in the worst case Britain would be unable to produce these crops and would need to import. Meaning no more British strawberries! 

To see the video, click here.