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Short-haired bumblebee blog

by Dr Nikki Gammans, Short-haired bumblebee Project Manager.

The Short-haired bumblebee project has had a busy summer this year: surveying bumblebees, engaging farmers, surveying habitat and carrying out practical management of a few selected sites. This season we have a Project Officer for the summer months, Dr Gemma Baron, who recently completed her PhD with Prof Mark Brown from Royal Holloway University of London. We also have a Master’s student placement for 6 weeks, Jordan Connor, who is studying at Bournemouth University. Her role is to GIS map bumblebee distribution across Dungeness, and thankfully she plans to stay on and help us as a volunteer once her placement has finished.

Surveying for bumblebees at Dungeness

Jordan (left) and Gemma (right) surveying for bumblebees at Dungeness.

After a slow start to spring we travelled to Sweden to begin our collection of Short-haired bumblebee queens emerging from hibernation. Unfortunately weather conditions were very poor and emergence was delayed. We also found disease prevalence to be high this year in the queens we collected, which unfortunately meant that many of the queens collected died during quarantine. The remaining 25 queens were released on the 1st June and observations were made and recorded over the four days after the bees release. During this time we suspect they had dispersed to find nesting sites. We are now searching for worker bees.