Latest news

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


Update on the Government’s decision to allow the use of banned neonicotinoid seed treatments

The Bumblebee Conservation Trust is disappointed to learn that the Government has agreed to allow farmers to plant oilseed rape seeds treated with the currently banned neonicotinoid pesticides this autumn, albeit on only 5% of the total OSR area.

To read our current policy position on the use of neonicotinoid pesticides click here.


Innovation Park Provides Perfect New Habitat for Eco Charities

Two fast growing environmental charities have selected Stirling University Innovation Park as their new home. The Bumblebee Conservation Trust and Grounds for Learning have snapped up sought after business space on the scenic campus.

The Bumblebee Conservation Trust, which will soon celebrate its ten year anniversary, is the UK’s leading charity devoted to reversing bumblebee decline; while Grounds for Learning, the Scottish arm of UK Charity Learning through Landscapes, has successfully transformed outdoor play and learning for thousands of Scottish school children over the past fifteen years.


‘Thurso – Gateway to the Great Yellow’ wins Heritage Lottery Fund support

We are delighted to announce that Bumblebee Conservation Trust (BBCT) has received £116,880 from the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) for an exciting project, ‘Thurso – Gateway to the Great Yellow’ in Caithness. Working with communities in Caithness, this project will establish Thurso as the UK’s first Great yellow bumblebee town. The project is match-funded by Scottish Natural Heritage, the Postcode Community Trust and the Caithness and North Sutherland Fund.

Great yellow bumblebee, Bombus distinguendusGreat yellow bumblebee (Bombus distinguendus) on clover.
Photo credit: Gordon Mackie

The project will create a strong sense of community ownership of this enigmatic rare bee and encourage grassroots support for bumblebee conservation. Through education, outreach, interpretation and wide-ranging practical measures, BBCT will engage local communities right across Caithness to raise awareness of the unique natural heritage of Caithness, create and manage habitats for the Great yellow bumblebee and other pollinators, and carry out vital survey work to inform our understanding of the current population status of bumblebees in Caithness.


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 -

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:


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.