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


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. 


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.


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 play on the video below.




Invitation to speak

The Bumblebee Conservation Trust is currently in the early stages of planning a conference that will bring together scientists, conservation practitioners and other NGOs to examine how research can translate into practical action. Both rural and urban environments will be considered, and the range of topics presented on will be wide-ranging.

The conference will take place in 2015, but the date is yet to be decided. At present we would like to invite any researchers who are interested to submit an Expression of Interest to speak by midday 30 September 2014. This needs to be a single side of A4 which articulates why you think your research has the power to make a difference to those working on the ground and the recommendations you would like to make to practitioners in the field. You may refer to past, recent and or current research. Attending this event is voluntary but we will reimburse all travel and other expenses incurred. We will also guarantee opportunities to gain publicity and showcase your work. If you are interested in this opportunity or have any questions please feel free to contact or call 01786 467 820. Additionally, if you have any suggestions based on your insight into this subject, we would appreciate you feedback as your thoughts and research would be very helpful in our mission to inform others.


Public urged to help support our bees’ needs

Five simple actions to help pollinators such as planting more bee-friendly flowers and cutting grass less often were promoted today to protect the vital contribution these insects make to our economy.

The five actions form part of a call to action launched by Environment Minister Lord de Mauley today at the Plant Life Conference, attended by HRH the Prince of Wales, to encourage people to do their bit to help insects such bees and butterflies.

Pollinators provide variety in our diets and some crops, like raspberries, apples and pears, particularly need insect pollination to produce good yields of high quality fruit.

Research has estimated the value of insect pollination to crops at around £400 million due to increases in yield and quality of seeds and fruit.

Lord de Mauley said:

“Pollinators such as bees are vital to the environment and the economy and I want to make sure that we do all we can to safeguard them.
“That’s why we are encouraging everyone to take a few simple actions and play their part in helping protect our bees and butterflies. We will be publishing a nationwide strategy for pollinators later this year to set out everything that we can do to help pollinators flourish.”

Whether people live in a town or in the countryside, they are being urged to help create or improve a habitat for pollinators in five simple ways:

1.      Grow more nectar and pollen-rich flowers, shrubs and trees
2.      Leave patches of land to grow wild
3.      Cut grass less often
4.      Avoid disturbing or destroying nesting or hibernating insects
5.      Think carefully about whether to use pesticides

More information on how to go about putting these into action is available on the Bees' Needs website. Have a look at the video below to find out more about the problems facing bees and how you can help them

The five simple actions were drawn up with experts from Natural England, the Food and Environment Research Agency, conservation charities and the research community. The Bumblebee Conservation Trust has played a key role as a partner in the development of these actions, and fully supports them. Our CEO Lucy Rothstein, who has spent time working on the development of the National Pollinator Strategy, says “This marks a huge step change in recognising the value bumblebees and other pollinators play in our daily lives and we are delighted to be collaborating with so many organisations to raise awareness and support action on the ground”.

There are at least 1500 species of insect pollinators in the UK. This includes 26 species of bumble bee, 260 solitary bees, 1 honey bee species and hundreds of types of hoverflies, butterflies and moths.

Defra will be publishing a national strategy for pollinators in the Autumn, following a public consultation earlier this year.