Saving the Great Yellow bumblebee

The Saving the Great Yellow bumblebee project is working in Scotland to safeguard threatened populations of one of our rarest bumblebees.

The Great Yellow bumblebee (Bombus distinguendus), once widespread throughout Great Britain, is now only found in five known population centres; Caithness, North West Sutherland, Orkney, Inner Hebrides, Outer Hebrides. One of the UK’s rarest bumblebees the Great Yellow bumblebee is a specialist species needing extensive meadows and particular types of habitats such as machair to survive year-to-year. It is a distinctive furry insect with bright yellow and black markings.

Numbers of this striking and rare bumblebee have fallen dramatically and remaining populations are in need of immediate protection.

The project aims to establish the current distribution and abundance of Great Yellow bumblebee in Scotland, allowing us to increase our knowledge of the needs of the Great Yellow bumblebee and its use of the habitats where it is found.

We plan to create more and better habitats for the Great Yellow bumblebee, through agri-environment funding, crofting initiatives and/or voluntary measures.

Developing key relationships, contacts and networks with stakeholders in Great Yellow bumblebee areas will be key to the project, and through recruiting and training volunteers, will enable us to monitor Great Yellow bumblebee populations.

Further reading material


We would like to thank Scottish Natural Heritage, Animal Friends Insurance, AEB Charitable Trust, Folio Trust and Miss A M Pilkington Charitable Trust for their generous contributions to the project.

Get involved

Please check our Volunteering Opportunities page for details of how to get involved with this project.

For more information about this project, please contact

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Registered Charity No. 1115634 / Scottish Charity No. SC042830

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