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Things are really kicking off

Things are really kicking off for our teams around the country now, with much news to share! In Stirling, we have been busy putting the finishing touches to the Bees for Everyone launch. It’s like Christmas in the office, with new materials arriving every day!

We have now had our first look at the new website, but the thing I really wanted to get my hands on was the Bee kind gardening tool. As an interested and keen gardener, I have learned so much about bee-friendly gardening through helping to develop this tool. Now any time I visit to the garden centre, I know which plants to choose: I go quickly past the pansies, petunias and begonias – which, incidentally, is what the bees do too! Hopefully you all find this as useful as I have.

Aside from that, our conservation team around the country have been getting out and liaising with farmers and land managers. We hope to work with these groups to provide more habitat (more flowers!) for some of the most threatened bumblebees. This has taken the team members to some areas which are excellent for bumblebees and, to their joy, they’ve spotted some of the very rare species already!

Sam, our Conservation Officer for East England, saw her first ever Brown-banded carder bee last week, when visiting Cliffe Pools RSPB reserve in North Kent. Sam had been at the reserve because the RSPB wanted advice on creating flower-rich areas on the site, which has four of the most threatened bumblebee species.

Sam said: ‘I was really excited when I realised I was looking at my first ever brown-banded carder bee!  Sometimes this species is difficult to distinguish from the common and moss carder bees but this queen's brown band was very noticeable so she was easy to spot.’

Have a look Sam’s photos. If you look closely you can just about pick out the brown band on the abdomen (a little below the ‘waist’). This band sometimes fades, and on first glance this species can be confused for the other carder bees, so Sam’s find was a very good one!       
  
Two of Sam’s photos of the Brown-banded carder bee are shown above.

I must admit I’m a little envious, but I shouldn’t complain because I recently saw a bee species that I hadn’t knowingly seen before - the Forest cuckoo bee. For more information on cuckoo bumblebees, have a look at this section of our website.

Now that I’ve seen my first cuckoo bee, I’m on a mission to see all six UK species! With many outdoors events coming up, I should hopefully see a few more– I’ll keep you all updated!

My first cuckoo bee! 

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