Bumblebees are among the most loved and familiar of garden insects, and with their large fuzzy bodies and deep buzzing drone, they are easy to spot and delightful to watch.
They are not only an endearing part of a summer's day, they are an essential part of life within our ecosystems and their presence as pollinators has a profound positive impact on the world around them. Sadly, however, many of their populations have fallen in recent times.
That's why the Bumblebee Conservation Trust (BBCT), the only UK charity dedicated to bumblebees, aims to halt and reverse this decline. BBCT is doing this through practical conservation work, raising awareness, and monitoring bumblebee populations.
Thanks to players of People's Postcode Lottery, BBCT have been awarded £300,000 over three years to provide investment in their dedicated and integral team to help raise awareness, fundraise and implement their 2019-22 strategic plan to ensure the UK's bumblebee populations thrive.
Nigel Madge, Fundraising Manager at BBCT, said "Over the next few years the Trust has some significant opportunities to explore and develop. The grant from the Postcode Green Trust has given us the boost to make a step change in the way we fundraise. We will be looking at how we can engage with corporates better and plan and identify funding for key projects sooner such as saving the great yellow bumblebee in Scotland and pollinating the Fowey Valley in Cornwall.".
In the UK there are over 250 different types of bee, 24 of these are bumblebees, one is the honeybee and the others are solitary bees.
Bumblebees depend entirely on flowers for food, using nectar from the flowers as a source of fuel and pollen for protein to help nourish and develop their young. From early spring right through to autumn, bumblebees are busy foraging on flowers to help feed their colonies. This makes them ideal pollinators and many of our crops and wildflowers depend on their tireless foraging to reproduce.
Sadly, these charismatic insects are struggling. The extensive loss of flowering meadows throughout the UK over the last hundred years has reduced food availability, while many hedgerows have been removed to create larger, more productive and manageable fields – also removing ideal nesting and hibernating places for bumblebees.
This combined with modern pressures like pesticides, disease and climate change, means that bumblebees need our help. The good news is that everyone can make a difference to these important insects and the Bumblebee Conservation Trust is committed to helping people make that difference, no matter how small. BBCT helps take action by:
- Advising land managers on large scale meadow restorations,
- Helping people make bee-friendly choices in their parks, gardens, allotments, schools, and work places, and
- Providing advice on planting window boxes with bee-friendly flowers.
There are many ways to get involved with the Trust, from volunteering to raise awareness about bumblebees, fundraising to aid conservation work, or becoming a citizen scientist to help monitor bumblebee populations.