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.
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
At the start of January delegates from across the food and farming sectors converged at the 10th annual Oxford Real Farming Conference (ORFC) – a conference set up to champion sustainable farming, food production and land stewardship. Set up as an alternative to the Oxford Farming Conference, which has been running since 1936, the Oxford Real Farming Conference has soared in popularity since its inception in 2010. Read More
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!
Research in focus: Country-specific effects of neonicotinoid pesticides on honey bees and wild bees. By Woodcock et al (2017), Science 365 (6345), pp. 1393-1395. DOI: 10.1126/science.aaa1190
On the 29th of June, the Centre for Ecology and Hydrology (CEH) published the largest field study to date examining the effects of neonicotinoid insecticides on bees. This much-anticipated study was funded by pesticide manufacturers Syngenta and Bayer, and carried out independently by the Centre for Ecology and Hydrology (CEH) after intense scrutiny of the methodology by researchers at the University of Cambridge.
This guest blog has been kindly written by Katie Morrison, a recent graduate from Aberdeen University. Katie received a first class grade for her honours thesis in which she investigated how farming practices in the Outer Hebrides impact on bumblebee diversity and abundance. Here she tells us about her findings.
Bumblebees are endearing and charismatic. It is, however, no secret that bumblebees are coming under growing pressure from intensive farming practices throughout Britain. But nestled in the North-West corner of Britain in the Outer Hebrides, rare bumblebees including the Great Yellow (extinct across England & Wales) and Moss Carder are thriving!
The machair of the Outer Hebrides might be unfamiliar to you. Machair (a Gaelic word) is a beautiful coastal habitat consisting of an extensive, low-lying fertile grassland. Its shell based soil hosts a multitude of flowers throughout the summer but is nearly barren throughout the winter. The floral display is unique across the world hosting some rare orchids, making it a precious habitat globally.
By Aoife O’Rourke, Conservation Officer (SW England)
I know that many of you have been following the neonicotinoid pesticide debate with much interest and concern. You may have noticed in the past two weeks alone a number of strong, compelling research papers have been published, which add to the ever growing pool of evidence proving that pesticides negatively impact bees and other pollinators.