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

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100 voluntary organisations Unite to Defend Nature

100 voluntary organisations across the UK, including Bumblebee Conservation Trust, have joined forces to call for the protection of Europe’s natural environment.

You too can lend your support with just one click via the ‘Nature Alert’ electronic tool - www.naturealert.eu

EU legislation – the Birds and Habitats Directives – exist to protect the most important wildlife species and habitats in the UK and Europe. However, these laws are now under review and at risk of being weakened.

The ‘Joint Links group’, representing 100 voluntary organisations across the UK, has published a position statement warning that the European Commission’s REFIT ‘Fitness Check’ of the Birds and Habitats Directives is the single biggest threat to UK and European nature and biodiversity in a generation. The organisations raise concerns that the Directives are under threat of being weakened by those who mistakenly regard them as a block on business and economic growth. In the current political context any revision of the Directives would expose them to prolonged uncertainty and leave the long-term future of Europe’s biodiversity vulnerable to short-term political priorities.

Chair of the Joint Links’ Habitats and Birds group Kate Jennings, (RSPB), said:

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Update on BBCT position on pesticides and the use of neonicotinoids

The Bumblebee Conservation Trust is calling for the ban on neonicotinoid pesticides to be extended indefinitely. Since the ban began on 1st December 2013, a large body of evidence has accumulated which suggests neonicotinoid pesticides are having a detrimental impact on a wide range of non-target organisms, including bumblebees. This evidence includes comprehensive findings from field, semi-field and laboratory studies, and whilst each particular experiment, looked at singularly, can be debated with regards to its merits and flaws, it is clear when looking at the evidence base as a whole, that neonicotinoids pose an additional threat to our wildlife.

Pesticide exposure is not the only threat to our wildlife. Bumblebee populations are threatened by multiple, interacting factors, including pesticide exposure, but also habitat loss, the importation of parasites and diseases, and the potential effects of climate change. Neonicotinoid exposure interacts with these other threats and exacerbates them, bees poisoned by neonicotinoids are less able to combat disease and forage for food, and therefore less likely to produce a successful colony. Of all the interacting drivers of bee declines, pesticide exposure is potentially one of the easiest for us to reverse.

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Sub T reintroduction project.

The Bumblebee Conservation Trust (BBCT) is delighted to announce that as from the 1st April 2015 it will be the lead partner for the Sub T reintroduction project. The Project Manager, Dr Nikki Gammans will join the BBCT Conservation Team as a full time employee of BBCT from this date.

By leading the partnership with Natural England, RSPB and Hymettus, BBCT will be able to provide the project with greater long term sustainability, Nikki will have the additional assistance and encouragement from the staff at BBCT, resources to help support and develop Sub T volunteers and support for developing the future of the project.

The project will retain its own distinct branding and website with a stronger link through the BBCT website. Donations to the Sub T project can now be made through the BBCT ‘just giving donation page’ here: www.justgiving.com/bumblebeect/ please make reference to ‘Sub T’ when donating - Thank you.
For more information about the project please visit www.bumblebeereintroduction.org

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All-Ireland Pollinator Plan 2015-2020 consultation

BBCT was pleased to contribute to the recent consultation stage of the All-Ireland Pollinator Plan 2015-2020.

This Plan has been developed by a 15 member steering group, representative of key stakeholders and provides an important framework to bring together pollinator initiatives across the island of Ireland.

The Plan proposes taking action across five areas:

  1. Making Ireland pollinator friendly (farmland, public land & private land)
  2. Raising awareness of pollinators and how to protect them
  3. Managed pollinators – supporting beekeepers
  4. Making sure we’re doing the right thing
  5. Collecting evidence to track change and measure success

To read our consultation response click here.

Further details about the Plan can be found here - http://pollinators.biodiversityireland.ie/home/all-ireland-pollinator-plan-2015-2020/

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Bumblebees at risk from honeybee diseases

A new study, published in the Journal of Animal Ecology this week, has discovered a range of viruses in wild bumblebees which were previously thought to be restricted to honeybees.

Researchers found that diseases such as black queen cell virus, deformed wing virus, acute bee paralysis virus, slow bee paralysis virus and sacbrood virus, which were originally thought to only affect honeybees, and incidentally are all named after their effects in honeybees, also occur in wild bumblebees.

Some disease levels were much higher in bumblebees, more...