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

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Bumblebee Conservation Trust unveils Strategic Plan 2014-2019

We are delighted to make public our new Strategic Plan for 2014-2019. This Plan looks at where we are at the moment, and describes where we would like to be in five years' time.

BBCT is one of the youngest conservation charities operating nationally across the UK. We have come a long way in our first eight years and have raised an impressive £2 million towards bumblebee conservation. At the time of writing this strategy, our turnover has just exceeded £600k per annum, supporting the work of 16 staff and the contribution of more than 500 volunteers. We also have 8,000 members whose support plays an essential role in enabling us to deliver our charitable objectives.

Looking to our future, we have defined our aims and this Plan describes how we will achieve them, and how we will measure our progress.

In particular, the Plan introduces our new strategic aims, which are to:

  • Support the conservation of all bumblebees, rare or abundant;
  • Raise awareness and increase understanding about bumblebees and the social, economic, environmental and cultural benefits which they and other pollinators provide; and
  • Ensure BBCT is sustainable, fit for purpose, and able to respond quickly to challenges and change.

To read the new BBCT Strategic Plan 2014-2019, click here.

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Bee foraging is impaired by pesticide exposure

Long term exposure to a neonicotinoid pesticide damages bees' ability to forage for pollen – and may be changing their choices of which flowers to visit – according to new research published today.

The research, conducted at Royal Holloway University of London, monitored bee activity using Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) tags similar to those used by courier firms to track parcels.

The study,  which was published in the British Ecological Society's journal Functional Ecology, found that long-term pesticide exposure can affect individual bees' day-to-day behaviour.

Dr Richard Gill (now at Imperial College London) and Professor Nigel Raine (currently at University of Guelph in Ontario) measured the impact of two pesticides, a neonicotinoid (imidacloprid) and a pyrethroid (lambda cyhalothrin), either singly or in combination, on the behaviour of individual bumblebees from 40 colonies over a four-week period.

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Bumblebees unknowingly poisoning their broods

Bumblebees fail to recognise some toxins in lupins and other flowers they visit for nectar and pollen - unwittingly weakening or even killing their broods, according to new research published by the University of Greenwich.

The university’s chemical ecology research group says more work is needed to discover if this previously unknown problem is affecting other pollinators such as honeybees.

Professor Phil Stevenson and Research Fellow Dr Sarah Arnold, of the university’s Natural Resources Institute (NRI), used insectories - a suite of temperature-controlled rooms which are home to insects, such as bumblebees, mosquitoes and grain storage pests - to explore the chemicals produced by plants, examining their ecological roles and any effects they have on visiting pollinators.

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Solar parks help save bumblebees

Solarcentury and the Bumblebee Conservation Trust (BBCT) are partnering to promote the use of solar parks in alleviating the plight of the bumblebee. 

The partnership will promote the development of bee-friendly environments by creating bio-diverse spaces in and around solar parks developed by Solarcentury.

In the last 100 years, bumblebee populations have crashed, with two species becoming extinct in the UK.  Solar parks are ideal environments for bee habitats because they can support a range of attractive micro-habitats. The variety of dry and wet,  shaded and sunny areas, if properly planted and managed, can encourage a much wider variety of fauna than improved grassland.

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Bumblebee survey calls for more volunteers

Do you know your Broken-belted from your Gypsy cuckoo?

Bumblebee enthusiasts are being asked to take part in the most high-tech survey of the species ever carried out in the UK.

Photos of bumblebees are  identified using a ground-breaking online ‘crowdsourcing’ technique - where a positive ID is reached when several members of the public allocate it to the same species.

More than 9,000 photos have already been submitted as part of the BeeWatch project which is coordinated by the University of Aberdeen’s dot.rural team and the Bumblebee Conservation Trust (BBCT).

Those behind the survey are calling for more volunteers to send in and identify photos and have made it easier than ever before with the launch of a new online training tool which teaches novices how to identify bumblebees.

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