A Letter From The Bumblebee Conservation Trust

We are delighted to hear that you would like to continue your support for our work and be part of our exciting plans for 2021. Despite the many operational challenges in 2020, here are some of the highlights of what we have achieved with your support:

In early 2020 we launched a new project, the Fowey Valley Bumblebee Project. Working with partners in Cornwall, this project is testing the University of Exeter’s Bee-Steward model on a landscape scale. The aim of the model is to help us understand the complex ways in which bumblebee respond to their environment, informing our land management decisions.

We celebrated 10 years of our Short-haired bumblebee project. This project has created over 60,000 acres of habitat, recruited 45 fantastic volunteers, engaged 30,000 people, has set up 26 BeeWalk transects to monitor bumblebee populations, and has worked with 100 landowners to create bumblebee-friendly habitat.  As a result, on nature reserves, rare bumblebees have increased 8-fold and away from reserves (where advice alone is more common), rare bees have increased 3-fold.  All three rare bumblebee species have been recorded returning to areas where they had not been seen for up to 25 years.

Through our West Country Buzz project, the Trust discovered new sites for the scarce Brown-banded carder bee at Hartland Quay, and Moss carder bee at RMB Chivenor.

Our innovative Bumblebee Education Experience (B.E.E.), a portable bumblebee science pop up roadshow, has reached 2,520 students in Derbyshire and three educational videos (made during lockdown) covering pollination, basic bumblebee ID and static electricity have been viewed over 3,100 times.  New Key stage 3 teaching packs are free to download from our website in the Learning Zone.

We launched the Shrill Carder bee Conservation Strategy in July and a new project to save one of our rarest bumblebees, found in only five areas in Wales, Somerset and the Thames Gateway (Essex & Kent) will start in the New Year to deliver the goals in the Strategy.  The Project will be working with farmers, landowners and communities to conserve, create and restore habitat favoured by this fuzzy winged warrior, to help improve the genetic diversity, resilience and abundance.

We’ve also recently developed and launched our new bumblebee ID mobile app for Apple & android phones.  Users can see bumblebees in an augmented reality function and bumblebee-beginners can use the app to ID our most common species.   Here is the link to the announcement if you’d like to learn more.