BBCT is a science-led organisation therefore all of our policy stances are formed through close evaluation of the latest scientific research on each topic.
Bumblebees have been reared commercially for pollination services since the 1980’s. This practice of importing bumblebee colonies has resulted in the accidental escape of non-native species throughout various regions of the world, and the spill-over of parasites and diseases into these regions to the detriment of native wild bees. We are calling for improved legislation to prevent the release of imported bumblebees. This may require Bombus terrestris audax to be added to schedule 9 of the Wildlife and Countryside Act, meaning growers would still be able to use commercial bumblebees within glass houses and poly-tunnels, however methods to prevent their escape would have to be taken and they would not be able to be deployed outdoors where they would be likely to come into contact with native wild bees. We strongly recommend the current practice of marketing colonies at gardeners for cosmetic reasons should cease immediately.
Neonicotinoid pesticides are a class of chemicals designed to target the nervous system of pest species that consume crops. In 2013, in response to concerns raised that they may be causing harm to other beneficial insects, specifically bees, the European Commission (EC) exercised the precautionary principle to restrict the use of the three most widely used neonicotinoids on crops and ornamental plants which are attractive to bees. The Bumblebee Conservation Trust is calling for the ban on neonicotinoid pesticides to be extended indefinitely.
The Bumblebee Conservation Trust recognises that the origin of seed or other plant material for habitat restoration or creation is an important issue for biodiversity conservation and that the need to identify the source of that seed will depend on the location where the restoration or creation occurs.