Join us for #theGYBHunt

The hunt is on . . .

Rare Great Yellow bumblebees (GYB) live in some of the most remote and beautiful parts of the Scottish Highlands and Islands. This makes it a very difficult species to monitor as there are very few people living in these areas (and even fewer volunteer recorders!). That’s why we’re asking you to join in a great new way you can help us find and record one of our most iconic bumblebees – take part in our Great Big Great Yellow Bumblebee Hunt!

Maybe you are holidaying in one of the areas this year, and might want to organise an adventurous day out? If you are lucky enough to live in one of these far flung locations, could you can spend a little time looking for this rare bumblebee? Every piece of data helps us understand how best to help these beautiful insects.

We’ve come up with a list of 28 10 x 10km grid squares where we know the Great Yellow bumblebee used to live – but no-one’s been to check recently so we don’t know if they are still there. It may have gone – the species has declined massively over the past century – but it’s entirely possible that this rare bumblebee is hanging on but just hasn’t been seen. Either way, if you are going to be near any of these squares (zoom in on map to the right) between June and August, you can help us by looking in these locations and recording all the bumblebees you find (even if they’re not Great Yellow bumblebees).

Each week, we’ll promote a 'Square of the Week' which is of particular importance; a total of 13 through the summer months. Each one is listed in the table below - we hope you will have fun and enjoy the most breathtaking views of Scotland!

Looking for the Great Yellow and other bees

Look for areas of flower-rich grassland, particularly if it has flowers the Great Yellow bumblebee loves – clover, thistles, vetches and knapweed. The best times are when the weather is sunny and warm, and not too windy. Record what you find by taking a photo (ideally several from different angles) if possible.

Taking photographs

Bumblebees are pretty quick at moving from flower to flower, but taking a photo of bumblebees you spot is a great way to confirm your sightings, especially with scarcer species that you are less familiar with, like the Great Yellow bumblebee. Take a look at our guide to photographing bumblebees.

How to record what you’ve seen

The best place to record ad hoc wildlife sightings is on iRecord. If you haven’t used iRecord before, you’ll need to register first. There is space on the recording page for comments – please use this to tell us that you are recording as part of the Great Big #theGYBHunt. If you have a smart phone, you can record straight to iRecord in the field through the iRecord App.

Share your images on social media

We would love for you to share your images on social media using the hashtag #theGYBHunt. Why not follow us on Instagram, Facebook or Twitter and tag us in!

Access rights and responsibilities in Scotland

Right to Roam legislation covers the whole of Scotland (unless there are specific exemptions, which will be signposted by the local authority). When accessing remote sites, follow Scotland’s Outdoor Access Code at all times and tell someone where you are going if you are going to be by yourself: https://www.outdooraccess-scotland.scot/. Please do not try to access any areas which put you at risk – for example, fields with bulls or steeply sloping clifftops.

Not familiar with grid references?

A two letter, two number reference (e.g. NF24) defines the location of a 10 x 10km square as shown in the table below and the map to the right. This link will help you with how to read a grid reference from an Ordnance Survey map: How to read a grid reference.

Click on the bumblebees below for specific grid references

'Square of the week' 8 - 15 June

GYB on flower

Side view of GYB

Hind leg of GYB

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