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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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Rare bumblebee reaps the benefits of Scything.

Earlier this year the Bumblebee Conservation Trust was awarded £116,880 by the Heritage Lottery Fund to work with communities in Caithness to help protect the very rare, Great yellow bumblebee.

The distribution of Great yellow bumblebee has declined by 80% in the last century making it one of the UK’s rarest bumblebees, with the last mainland populations of this rare and enigmatic bumblebee found in Caithness and Sutherland.

Since April, the Bumblebee Conservation Trust has been engaging with local communities to raise awareness about the unique natural heritage of the area and working with a number of community groups to manage areas of wildflower meadows. Wildflower meadows offer bumblebees and other pollinators a great source of food but need to be carefully managed. Katy Malone, conservation officer for the Bumblebee Conservation Trust said, “Although larger scale meadows need to be managed with powered machinery, smaller meadows are often not accessible by large tractors, this led me to wonder if scything might be an option instead”.

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Bringing England’s wildlife ‘back from the brink’ of extinction

Bumblebee Conservation Trust joins forces to help protect our threatened wildlife. 

More than 100 species of England’s most threatened wildlife could be saved from extinction thanks to a new £4.6 million grant from the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF).

HLF has approved the development stage and provided initial funding for ‘Back from the Brink’, a partnership project that brings together a range of conservation organisations to focus on protecting key threatened species – such as the Shrill carder bumblebee,  grey long-eared bat, pasque flower, sand lizard, and Duke of Burgundy butterfly – froextinction.

The programme is being run by Natural England and the Partnership for Species Conservation – a coalition of seven of the UK’s leading wildlife charities (Amphibian and Reptile Conservation, Bat Conservation Trust, Buglife, Bumblebee Conservation Trust, Butterfly Conservation, Plantlife, and the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds). By working together at sites across the country, ‘Back from the Brink’ will save 20 species from extinction and help another 118 species that are under threat move to a more certain future.

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Managed Bees Spread and Intensify Diseases in Wild Bees


UC Riverside-led research shows wild bees are harmed even when managed bees are disease-free.

RIVERSIDE, Calif. – For various reasons, wild pollinators are in decline across many parts of the world. To combat this, managed honey bees and bumblebees are frequently shipped in to provide valuable pollination services to crops. But does this practice pose any risk to the wild bees?

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