All about the bees blog

The views, opinions and positions expressed within this blog are those of the author alone. The accuracy, completeness and validity of any statements made within this article are not guaranteed. We accept no liability for any errors or omissions.

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An update from our Somerset Volunteers

This week we have a special article from John, our Local Volunteer Co-ordinator in Somerset. John does a great job looking after our volunteers in the area, which is also home to the Shrill carder bee - one of the most endangered species of bumblebee in the UK. He sent this update to the volunteers he works with back in October, but we've published it here again to share his good work, and hopefully inspire some of you to volunteer with the Trust. If you live in the Somerset area and would like to get involved, email the group at somersetvolunteers@bumblebeeconservation.org

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A flavour of bumblebee!

"I think less in terms of what I have done for the bees but far more of what the bees have done for me."        Katy Malone, Bumblebee Conservation Officer for Scotland.


I’m Katy Malone, the Conservation Officer for Scotland and technically, yes, I cover the whole of the nation.  It’s a big, brilliant, beautiful nation. Many people have asked me what I do, so I thought I would write about a typical day in my working life.

Actually… I’ll come clean, there’s no such thing as a typical day. That was to be the title of the blog, but as soon as I wrote it, I realised I would struggle to find a realistic answer to the question.  How on earth do I tell you about my typical day when every day is different? No hours, no-one I meet, no places I visit – are ever the same. The only days that are fully (mostly. Okay, when I have time) planned out in advance, are the days when I’m delivering a training workshop about bumblebees. The rest of my days are ad hoc, flexible, juggling priorities, opportunistic. And I absolutely love it!

So instead, I hope you’ll allow me a little artistic license – this is a flavour of my time as a Conservation Officer.

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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.

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Few and far between

The blog post this month is submitted by Sinead Lynch Conservation Officer for Wales.

In 2013 I was contacted by Charlie Elder, an author, journalist and wildlife enthusiast. He was travelling the length and breadth of the country trying to find twenty five of Britain's rarest and most endangered species, and he was compiling his journey into a book called ‘Few and far between’. As part of his book, he wanted me to help him find the very rare Shrill carder bee – no pressure.

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Bumblebees and Flowers: A Complex Relationship

We have a special guest article from Dick Alderson, who has been recording bumblebees at the same site since 2008 .  He has made some interesting observations about the flowers that the bees prefer to visit...

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