Bumblebee blog

Here you will find informal updates on our projects, top tips from our staff and volunteers on how to support bumblebees and interesting guest articles from our partners. Use the category buttons to filter the blog articles by topic.

Brilliant BeeWalk!

This month’s blog comes from two of the Bumblebee Conservation Trust’s enthusiastic and much appreciated BeeWalkers and volunteers, Margaret and Lily Alston.

As volunteers for the Bumblebee Conservation Trust, this will be the third year we have taken part in their BeeWalk monitoring scheme.

At least once a month, we equip ourselves with recording sheet, magnifying glass, comfy clothes and of course a picnic lunch, then set off on our ‘walk’. This ‘walk’ is called a ‘transect’ which is a route through the Rock Garden, starting at Bridge Street, going through the top part of the garden, on to the Nature Reserve, then back along the front of the garden, ending back where we started. It is important, as this is a scientific study, to always walk exactly the same route! We also try to go on a sunny and relatively calm day….ideal conditions for our bumblebee friends! Read More

Wildflowers for bees: a beginner’s guide to sowing wildflower seed in spring

This informative blog is written by The Grass People.

Bumblebees are iconic, charismatic and captivating insects that play a vital role in the lives of us all by pollinating our crops and many of our native wildflower species. However, since the 1930’s we have lost 97% of our flower-rich meadows – leaving bumblebee’s hungry and homeless…

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Beeware! ‘Bee-friendly’ garden plants can contain bee-harming chemicals

by Katy Malone, Conservation Officer (Scotland)

It’s early spring here in the Highlands. Despite the continuing flurries of snow, snowdrops have pushed their way out of the iron-hard soil and are waiting for those early rays of sunshine to allow them to open up into their classic nodding shape. I was thrilled to hear my first song thrush of the year this morning – he must know that spring is waiting around the corner and was warming up his fine voice. I love to walk around the garden at this time of year to see the first leaves breaking, the first flowers, and of course, the first bumblebees!

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Using garden shape and size to ensure bumblebee success

In this blog post, the Trust’s new volunteering and conservation assistant, Jack Reid, explains the research project he undertook during his MSc thesis. Read More

PhD opportunity with the Trust!

As an organisation, the Bumblebee Conservation Trust have always valued scientific research and evidence-led conservation work. So when the opportunity came up to work with the University of East Anglia (UEA) we leapt at the chance!

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Machair Galore!

By Claire Wales, Support Services Officer at the Bumblebee Conservation Trust

In July 2017, an excitingly rural and colourful search for the Great yellow bumblebee took place in one of the most exquisite locations!

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The Plight of the Bumblebee


“I moved closer and not only heard it, saw it – the biggest, fattest, furriest bumblebee ever.  I could barely believe my eyes”.

We recently received this delightful story, by Bumblebee Conservation Trust member, Judith Pearson, and her encounter with a queen bumblebee in winter! We hope you enjoy reading and sharing with friends and family.

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Winter husbandry for solitary bees

By Ron Rock, Bumblebee Conservation Trust Volunteer

And so, we reach the end of another bee year. As I write, there are just a few Common carder bees still in the garden. The Red mason and Leafcutter bees are long gone but mud and leaf filled tubes in the bee nesters are evidence that their work has been done. Another generation is already in place and will emerge next spring and summer. But will it? Are bee nesters a fit and forget option in our gardens? Will the bees emerge and happily go on year after year? Sadly, the answer is probably not.

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Smelly male bumblebees!

By Cathy Horsley, Conservation Officer West Country Buzz

This summer, I learnt that different species of male bumblebees have different scents. I use a marking cage to examine bumblebees on my surveys to get a good close up look to identify them, and the male bees sooner or later released a puff of perfume.

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Bees on strike

Last month, on our social media channels, we showcased what life might be like if pollinators decided to down their tools and stop working. #BeesOnStrike aimed to get people thinking about what life would be like without our most loyal insect civil servants, and what we can all do to improve their working conditions. Hopefully the message got through – our lives would change immeasurably for the worse without them and it is in all of our best interests to do something to help them.

Imagine if every single person decided to do even just one small good deed for the creatures which contribute so much to our lives.

If you are looking for ideas about how you can help, here are a few to get you started:
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