We are one of the youngest national conservation charities in the UK, founded in 2006 by two academics whose research had uncovered serious concerns about bumblebee sustainability and survival. In the last 80 years, bumblebee populations have been decimated and two native species have become extinct and a further eight of our 24 species are endangered.
The Trust bases its policies and practical conservation work through constant evaluation of scientific research and best practice, and our current activities include:-
• Landscape-scale conservation projects across the UK • Providing advice to farmers, land managers and communities on enhancing biodiversity for bumblebees and other wild pollinating insects. • Working with schools to raise awareness and encourage students into science & conservation. New this year the Bee Education Experience. • Encouraging bee-friendly gardening across the country. • Creating and restoring wildflower habitats where rare bumblebee species need it most. • BeeWalk surveys by volunteers and our staff from March to October to monitor bumblebee populations
Our aim is to address the decline in bumblebee (and other wild pollinator) populations by increasing and restoring their habitats and there is a good commercial reason for doing so as pollinators are essential for our short and long term food production.
• 70 of the 100 crop species that provides 90% of food worldwide are pollinated by bees. • Our soft fruit industry relies on commercially reared bumblebees from Europe, to the tune of 65,000 nests a year. • Bumblebees are one of the major contributors in insect crop pollination (estimated to add €14.2 billion annually to the EU. • Bumblebees have smelly feet! This is so they can tell when a flower has already been visited that day, so they don’t waste time looking for nectar that has already been taken. • Bumblebees are the only insect which can pollinate tomato plants, using “Buzz Pollination.” They are important pollinators of strawberries, raspberries, peas and beans in the UK too. • Bumblebees can fly up to 6km a day to forage on flowers – this is the equivalent of a person walking around the globe 10 times to get to the shops!
As part of the National Pollinator Strategy, 5 simple actions have been identified that we can all do to help make our environment more pollinator friendly:
• Grow more flowers, shrubs and trees • Let your garden grow wild • Cut grass less often • Don’t disturb insect nests and hibernation spots • Think carefully about whether to use pesticides