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

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Bee-friendly wildflower seeds giveaway

The winners of our bee-friendly wildflower seed giveaway have been announced today.  

Find out if you are one of the 950 lucky winners.

 

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Hej hej - Say hello to our new Swedish Short-haired bumblebee queens

Nearly 50 Short-haired bumblebee queens from Sweden were released at the RSPB Dungeness reserve in Kent yesterday.

The weather conditions were ideal as the queens were released into their new home by a team of around 80 scientists and volunteers from the Short-haired bumblebee reintroduction project.

The project, a partnership between the Bumblebee Conservation Trust, Natural England, RSPB and Hymettus, aims to establish new populations of this bumblebee which was last seen in Britain in 1988 and declared extinct in 2000.

It is the third year in a row queens from Sweden have been released in Kent. Although worker short-haired bumblebees were spotted at the site following last year’s release, no queens have yet been recorded.

Project officer Dr Nikki Gammans said: "We released 46 queens in four different locations where there were foxgloves, bramble, common vetch, red clover and white dead-nettle.

"The signs are good - there are a lot of wild flowers coming into bloom thanks to the work of the local farming community and gardeners. We have already spotted other very rare species in the area including the Ruderal bumblebee and the Red-shanked carder bee.

"We have been out today and have already seen a few queens around feeding so that's nice. Hopefully it's looking good for them."

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Thurso set to be styled as the Gateway to the Great Yellow

BBCT today unveils its plans for an exciting new project which could see Thurso styled as the UK’s first Great yellow bumblebee town.

The aim of the project, called Gateway to the Great Yellow, is to create a sense of community ownership of this enigmatic bumblebee and encourage grass roots support for bumblebee conservation.

Through education, outreach and interpretation, together with a range of practical measures, BBCT hopes to encourage local communities throughout Caithness to create and manage habitats for the Great yellow bumblebee and other pollinators.

The project has already won the support of MSP David Stewart and Highland councillor Roger Saxon who have become Great yellow bumblebee Species Champions in the Scottish Parliament and Highland Council respectively.

Now The Beechgrove Garden's George Anderson is joining the trust's call for gardeners to play their part by planting bee-friendly flowers in their gardens. 

He said: "Bumblebees are so important as pollinators and in many areas are under threat from loss of habitat and forage crops.

"The Great yellow bumblebee, which was once found throughout most of Britain, is now confined to small populations on the north coast of Scotland and some of the Scottish islands.

"Gardeners have a part to play in preserving these precious and much-loved insects - even if it is just something as simple as planting a pot of lavender."

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Bumblebee Conservation Trust’s response to the National Pollinator Strategy Consultation

Following the announcement from Defra that there would be a National Pollinator Strategy for England, the Bumblebee Conservation Trust has been closely involved in the development of the Strategy. As a member of the Advisory Committee, our Chief Executive worked alongside organisations such as RHS, Buglife and the British Beekeepers' Association to shape the Strategy.

BBCT has since been asked to provide a response to the plans. BBCT has welcomed this opportunity to shape the Strategy, which has the potential to bring about greater protection of our pollinators. Our Board of Trustees has submitted a response to the consultation, which you can read in full by clicking here.

In summary, our response states that:

  • The Board of the Bumblebee Conservation Trust (BBCT) welcomes the development of the National Pollinator Strategy for England.  It recognises the importance of insect pollinators and that, amongst other environmental policies, the conservation of this guild of insects has considerable economic value.
     
  •  The BBCT considers that there has been a missed opportunity to develop a UK-wide strategy, akin to the UK’s Biodiversity Plan, which involved the three Devolved Administrations.
     
  • The BBCT suggests that the vision should be expanded to include the guild of pollinating insects and to recognise the importance of the ecosystem service of pollination for the well-being of the nation’s wild flowers.
     
  • The BBCT does not under-estimate the complexity of the inventory process for the 1500 or so species included within the term ‘pollinator’.  Without careful planning from the outset, the potential for both duplication and gaps in the data sets of distribution and abundance is considerable.
     
  • The BBCT applauds the emphasis on the use of volunteers throughout the strategy.  However, the voluntary effort needs to be co-ordinated by staff who can oversee the implementation of the whole strategy and, in particular, the communications required in the ‘Call to Action’.  The BBCT encourages ther implementation of the strategy on a project basis, with DEFRA or one of its agencies leading.
     
  • The major omission in the strategy is an indication of the resources – both human and financial – required for its successful delivery.
     
  • The strategy is central to the BBCT’s core mission, so the Trust is prepared to dedicate resources at both strategic and operational levels to ensure the success of the strategy.  The BBCT therefore stands ready to assist in the implementation of 7 of the 18 Priority Actions outlined in the strategy.
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Local councillor takes rare bumblebee under his wing

Thurso councillor Roger Saxon has become a “champion” for the Great yellow bumblebee as part of an initiative by Highland Council to help endangered species.

Councillors were asked to choose from more than 80 different species ranging from a lowly but important soil fungus which helps Bluebells absorb phosphate to the emblematic Golden eagle.

The Great yellow bumblebee is one of the two most endangered bumblebee species in the UK.

Once found throughout most of the UK, it is now only found in parts of Caithness and Sutherland, and the islands of Orkney, Coll, Tiree and the Outer Hebrides, where it thrives on coastal sites which retain a clover-rich machair habitat.

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