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.

What’s in a name?

by Katy Malone, Bumblebee Conservation Trust Conservation Officer (Scotland)

Ever wondered how bumblebees came to be called bumblebees? It’s an odd sort of word. I don’t really think of bumblebees actually doing much bumbling about. They are usually far too busy working the flowers for nectar and pollen to feed the young larvae in the nest for wasting time ‘bumbling’*. Read More

Recording bumblebees and other pollinators in my garden, by Steve Hull

I’ve always loved wildlife. Collecting wildlife cards from packets of tea and reading Observer’s Books set me off on that course, with little other encouragement at eight years old.

I try to make my own garden and nearby community woodlands, where I lead work parties, as good a habitat as I can for all sorts of species. I have also persuaded the local Moray Council to agree to some special amphibian ladders in some of the drains and they work very well and I now have several amphibian hibernacula around the garden. BeeWalks fit into that connection with my local habitat very well. Read More

My first year of being a BeeWalker, by Loretta Francia

Hello, my name is Loretta and I’m a brand new BeeWalker! Several years ago, my partner George and I started a market garden business in Cornwall from scratch. The area was just a boring stubble field when we started and the first project was planting some hedges (early willow, Italian alder, and Rosa rugosa) to slow the westerly winds down – the originals had apparently been removed in the 1960s during farm “improvement”. It was a bee desert! Soon after, we started keeping honeybees to help with the pollination of our newly planted fruit bushes and veg. It wasn’t long before we noted how lazy honeybees were and how industrious bumblebees are! They’re up earlier in the day and earlier in the year, go to bed long after the honey bees are tucked up in their hives and they’re even out working on rainy days. Read More

Pollinators in sweet cherry orchards

The full bloom of cherry blossoms is a beautiful and yet ephemeral event that lasts about three weeks (typically from mid-April to early May). Numerous blossoms are available to pollinators, but resources are scarce for them in orchards after the blossom period. Read More

Pollinators in a Pandemic

by Claire Wallace, PhD Student.

In these “unprecedented times” many of us are quite-rightly uncertain and anxious about what the Covid-19 pandemic means for us, our families and friends, and our jobs. We are all subject to a constant battering of information from TV, radio, and newspapers which can make it even harder to find the silver lining in this ever-growing dark cloud. But I would like to present a silver lining for you now – bees. Whilst our world changes, bees continue bumbling around in their search for flowers completely unaware of our current situation. So how can a viral outbreak be connected positively with bees?

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The Nature of our Village Project in Penparcau

By Chloe Griffiths

Our community has a biological recording project in the village of Penparcau, near Aberystwyth, in West Wales, and part of this work is a particular focus on bumblebees. We have taken part in BeeWalk since 2017 and it is popular with local people. We’ve been going long enough to have some data to compare with the national picture and a short comparison between how bumblebees are doing in our village and in the UK as a whole. Read More

On the Hive-way: Roadsides and Pollinators

by Claire Wallace, PhD student.

Road verges. A buzzword in pollinator conservation. Here in the UK there is an estimated 500,000 kilometres of road verge just waiting to be transformed. With over 700 species of wildflower found in road verges, it is no surprise that they have been branded a “refuge” for pollinators. Current scientific research generally supports this idea, with studies often showing that verges host a greater number of pollinator species and individuals than surrounding agricultural or semi-natural habitat (Gardiner et al., 2018; Villemey et al., 2018). The increasing profile of verges and their potential for pollinators is reflected in the demand for more research from scientists, and better management plans from councils and highways managers. Read More

Should you take a bumblebee home?

 by Jack Reid, Outreach and Volunteering Officer at Bumblebee Conservation Trust

So, you kidnapped a bumblebee…

Each year, the Trust receives dozens of e-mails and phone calls from well-intentioned beenappers who have been out and about and found a tired-looking lone bumblebee that they’ve rescued and taken home with them to care for. In case you’ve been considering the practicalities of taking a bumblebee home, we have written up this useful guide to caring for your new friend, without taking it home! Read More

Bumblebees of the World Blog Series… #10 Bombus brodmannicus

by Denis Michez, Researcher at Université de Mons, Belgium and contributor to the IUCN RedList assessment for several European bumblebee species.

This month Bumblebees of the World features Bombus brodmannicus, a poorly understood and endangered bumblebee species found in two fragmented populations separated by more than 2,500km!

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Bumblebees of the World Blog Series… #9 Bombus gerstaeckeri

by Denis Michez, Researcher at Université de Mons, Belgium.

September’s blog features a vulnerable European bumblebee species, Bombus gerstaeckeri, and comes from Denis Michez, a researcher at Université de Mons, Belgium, who studies global bee diversity and conservation.

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