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

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West Country Buzz: supporting farmers, wild pollinators, and farm wildlife

By Aoife O’Rourke, Conservation Officer (SW England)

Bumblebee Conservation Trust has been developing a project, West Country Buzz, in partnership with Natural England, and local NGOs in Devon, which aims to support farmers and help them to increase wild pollinators, farmland birds and wildlife on their farms via the Wild Pollinator and Farm Wildlife Package.

What is the Wild Pollinator and Farm Wildlife Package?

The Wild Pollinator and Farm Wildlife Package is a suite of options, which is part of the Countryside Stewardship Scheme, designed to benefit wild pollinators, farmland birds, and other wildlife e.g. bats.  The package has been created to ensure that essential resources, such as food and shelter, are available all year round in the farmland landscape in order to support wildlife. For more information about the package, please visit: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/countryside-stewardship-manual

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Making a Buzz for the Coast – no whiling away the winter months in Kent

Whilst the winter months might be a quieter time for our bumblebees, for projects such as Making a Buzz for the Coast they are a great opportunity to firm up plans and get out and about to talk to as many people as possible as their thoughts start to turn to the year ahead.

Making a Buzz for the Coast is one of the Trust’s developing projects and focuses on strengthening and protecting our wild bee populations around 300 miles of Kent’s coastline, from Dartford to Rye.  In June 2015 this partnership project, which is being led by the Bumblebee Conservation Trust, was awarded an initial grant from the Heritage Lottery Fund for a year of development work. After a busy summer of surveying potential habitat sites around the coast, trialling approaches for teaching people how to identify some of Kent’s most special rare bee species and visiting local events to get people’s ideas for the project, the autumn and winter have been a great opportunity to develop plans in more detail.

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Bringing back a healthy buzz? Invertebrate parasites and reintroductions: a case study in bumblebees

The short-haired bumblebee project is pleased to announce its first scientific paper has been published in the journal Ecohealth. The paper discusses the risks associated with reintroductions and parasites and how this is managed for our reintroduction of Bombus subterraneus.  To enable us to reintroduce this species we first had to construct a disease risk analysis of potential bumblebee parasites. From this data we then wrote a disease risk management plan to cover all aspects of capture-quarantine-release that minimise the impacts on both the bumblebee and their natural parasites. The paper is authored by Prof Mark Brown (Royal Holloway University of London), Gavin Measures (Natural England), Dr Tony Sainsbury and Dr Rebecca Vaughan-Higgins (ZSL), Dr Catherine Jones (University of Leeds) and Dr Nikki Gammans (Bumblebee Conservation Trust).

Click here to read the full paper.

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Bumblebee Conservation Trust - 9th Annual General Meeting 2015

By Michael Usher, Chairman

At our AGM in December, our Chairman, Michael Usher, spoke to a packed room of members. He reflected on the highlights of our conservation work during 2014/2015 and shared our plans for 2016.

You can read Michael’s speech in full by clicking below and reading more.

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New research exposes secret cocktail of toxic pesticides in hedgerows and wildflowers

Scientists at Sussex University have discovered that bees are exposed to a chemical cocktail when feeding from wildflowers growing next to neonicotinoid treated crops in UK farmland. These chemical cocktails could make the impact of neonicotinoids up to 1,000 times more potent than previously realised.

One in 10 species of Europe's wild bees is facing extinction, and neonicotinoid insecticides are increasingly seen as contributing to these declines.  In addition to neonicotinoids, farmers may spray some non-organic crops a dozen or more times while they are growing, with anything up to 23 different chemicals. 

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