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S.O.S (Save Our Shrills): Somerset

There is great concern the Shrill carder bee population in South Somerset is in serious decline and at risk of extinction. This long term project aims to secure its future and other rare bumblebees including the Ruderal bumblebee.

Side profile of rare bumblebee on yellow flower
Bumblebee feeding on purple flower

Pieter Haringsma

Following on from a hugely successful partnership project for the Shrill carder bee, there is a strong need to continue to focus on the population of Shrill carder bees in Somerset, one of the last strongholds for this very rare bumblebee.

The Shrill carder bee (Bombus sylvarum) is known for its distinctive high-pitched buzz, and is one of the smallest species of bumblebee. It’s found in very low numbers in Somerset and there is a need to continue to raise awareness of this species before this population is lost forever.

S.O.S (Save Our Shrills): Somerset will maintain and build upon existing relationships, but also engage with new stakeholders, including landowners, farmers and councils to create and restore flower-rich habitat and deliver conservation activities around south Somerset.

Working primarily within the core population areas in south Somerset by focusing efforts on connecting known sites and strengthening the local Shrill carder bee recovery network with support from the existing Shrill carder bee volunteer group through monitoring and recording. We will also recruit and train new volunteers to build the local network of bumblebee surveyors in the area and closely align the aims and outcomes of the Conservation Strategy for the Shill carder bee.

Close up facial shot of bumblebee on purple flower.

Partners and collaborators

Conservation strategy steering group members (BWARS, Buglife, Natural Resources Wales, RSPB and Natural England.) and local supporters (South Somerset District Council, National Trust, Somerset Wildlife Trust, Somerset Shrill carder bee volunteer group).

A Shrill-carder bumblebee feeding on a pale purple flower.


Esmee Fairbairn Foundation and the Bumblebee Conservation Trust.

Further information

If you are a landowner seeking advice, or wish to volunteer with the project, please email