A conservation strategy for the Shrill carder bee

The Shrill carder bee (Bombus sylvarum) is one of the rarest and most threatened bumblebee species in England and Wales. Once widespread, it now only exists in five isolated population areas. In England, these are in the Thames Estuary and Somerset; in Wales these are in the Gwent Levels, Kenfig–Port Talbot, and south Pembrokeshire. In at least two of these population areas, numbers are worryingly low and appear to be declining.

Known for its distinctive high-pitched buzz, the Shrill carder bee is one of the smallest species of bumblebee and is identified by its pale grey yellow colouring, black band of hair between the wings and reddishorange tail.

Following on from the hugely successful Shrill carder bee project which concluded in March 2020, and delivered in partnership with Buglife and the Back from the Brink project, it was recognised there was an urgent need for a coordinated and strategic approach to ensure the survival of this rare bee.

Through a collaborative effort with a range of partners and stakeholders including the Bumblebee Conservation Trust, a 10-year conservation strategy has been developed for England and Wales. At a local and national level, the Trust with partners and stakeholders will increase habitat, connectivity, evidence data and have an increased understanding of the needs of this bumblebee.

As part of this project a Species Recovery Manager will co-ordinate the key actions required and will be in post January 2021. See below to read the full report.

Further information 


This strategy has been developed as part of the Back from the Brink partnership programme, made possible thanks to funding from the National Lottery Heritage Fund.

Thank you to the Strategy Steering Group members BWARS, Buglife, Bumblebee Conservation Trust, Natural Resources Wales, RSPB and Natural England. For a full list of individuals and stakeholders please see the publication page of the full document.


The project is funded by Neil’s Yard Remedies and the Bumblebee Conservation Trust.

Get involved

For more information about the project, please email enquiries@bumblebeeconservation.org

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