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


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.

Having received a £5000 reward, here is what Peter had to say about what the award means to him and how he will use the prize funding to further his research: “It’s fantastic to receive recognition not just for my work and its impact but also recognition that there is still much to do to ensure farming practices don't harm our wild bees. I intend to use the prize money to further research in this area whilst continuing to consult with Natural England to ensure the research has a targeted impact on regulating the commercial bee industry and reducing the risks our wild pollinators face.”

Note to Eds

For more information with regards to commercial bumblebee imports and their implications please contact


‘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. To book a free place at the conference, click here.

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


Bumblebee researcher finalist in NERC Impact Awards 2015

A researcher looking at the diseases affecting bumblebees has been made a finalist in NERC's Impact Awards.

PhD research by Dr Peter Graystock at the University of Leeds, now based at the University of Bristol, in partnership with The Bumblebee Conservation Trust found that commercially-reared bumblebees were infected with a number of different parasites upon arrival in the UK. These parasites can be passed on to native populations of bumblebee and even other bee species. In response to Graystock’s findings, Natural England has tightened its regulations and now requires breeders and suppliers to carry out improved screening procedures, covering a greater number of parasites, before bumblebees can be imported into the UK. They are currently consulting on a proposed ban on imports of all non-native species. Meanwhile, Norway has banned bumblebee imports outright, until suppliers can prove their bees are no longer infected.

The awards intend to recognise and reward the contribution of NERC science to the UK’s economy, society, wellbeing and international reputation. The winners will be announced at a prize-giving ceremony in London on 27 January 2015. The applications show the excellence of UK science and its impact, as well as demonstrating the breadth of the contribution environmental science – and scientists – make to the UK’s prosperity

Well done to Peter!


Bumblebee Conservation Trust welcomes the launch of the National Pollinator Strategy for England

The Bumblebee Conservation Trust (BBCT) welcomes the launch today of the National Pollinator Strategy for England having spent many months working closely with Defra, Friends of the Earth, researchers, scientists and other NGOs on its development.

Lucy Rothstein, Chief Executive of Bumblebee Conservation Trust comments: “The Government’s National Pollinator Strategy highlights the need to improve and increase habitat for vital pollinators such as bumblebees. The Bumblebee Conservation Trust is set to play an important role working with more landowners, local authorities, businesses and the general public to create areas for our pollinators to live and feed. We fully support the Government’s call for action and urge people to get involved”.

Bumblebees have been in long term decline for several decades now – one of the main reasons being the loss of our wildflower-rich habitats. Two species of bumblebee have become extinct during this time and there is now an urgent need to stop any further extinctions. These precious creatures not only pollinate wildflowers but many of our fruit and vegetable crops – apples, strawberries, peas and tomatoes.  Ensuring their long term survival is therefore critical for crop pollination as well. 

BBCT has been closely involved in the development of the Strategy and is especially pleased to see that the final document contains two amendments based on the Trust’s consultation response:

• an emphasis on working with local authorities to create habitat for pollinators; and
• more stringent monitoring of imported bumblebees used for commercial purposes.

BBCT is already active in both of these areas and in a recent survey of local authorities found that 63% of those responding had introduced a variety of strategies to encourage pollinators: from the management of cutting regimes and grass verges to planting schemes with wildflowers or cultivated plants. BBCT will continue to expand its work in this area and would encourage anyone with an interest in approaching their local authority about bee-friendly planting to download its Local Authority Pack for guidance (click here to download pdf).

BBCT would now like to see the Scottish Parliament follow the lead of England and Wales in drawing up a National Pollinator Strategy for Scotland. 

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For more information or interview opportunities please contact

Notes to Eds:

About Bumblebee Conservation Trust

The Bumblebee Conservation Trust is a UK based charity that was established because of serious concerns about the ‘plight of the bumblebee’. In the last 80 years bumblebee populations have crashed and two species have become extinct in the UK, although the Short-haired bumblebee is currently the subject of a reintroduction project – see for more information. 

Many of the remaining species have declined in their geographical range and abundance, including two species listed as ‘vulnerable’ on the IUCN’s 2013 European regional assessment. BBCT is addressing these concerns with a mixture of direct conservation measures and advice to businesses, farmers, landowners and the general public; scientific monitoring (BBCT runs the only British standardised survey of bumblebee abundance and distribution); and public outreach (aimed at raising public awareness of, and engagement with, bumblebee species).


University of Sussex appeals for citizen scientists to help study pesticides

Do you own a solitary bee home that looks like this? University scientists need your help.


Scientists at the University of Sussex are studying the effects of a group of insecticides known as neonicotinoids on solitary bees and need help from the public. So that a range of areas across the UK can be tested, the researchers are asking people to donate a tube or two from their solitary bee homes, so they can sample the nests for pesticide residues.