A Rocha, Bumblebee Conservation Trust (BBCT) and the Tree Bumblebee
A Rocha UK (a Christian environmental charity) is partnering with the Bumblebee Conservation Trust, (BBCT) in a campaign to see how far and how fast the Tree Bumblebee (Bombus hypnorum) is spreading in the UK.
BBCT researchers discovered this small bumblebee in 2001 in Wiltshire. The Tree Bumblebee is now rapidly colonising the country and its spread from mainland Europe has probably been facilitated by the changing climate.
We are now trying to discover how far the species has spread over recent
Tree Bumblebees are most likely to be encountered in urban areas, churchyards and gardens. These bees have relatively short tongues and feed on shallow flowers including Bramble, Raspberry, Cotoneaster, Rosebay Willow-herb and fruit trees. They have a tendency to nest in holes in trees (which gave rise to their common name). You may even find them using one of your bird boxes!
We have been encouraging our supporters to look for the bee in their gardens. The Tree Bumblebee is quite distinctive - it has a brown thorax, black abdomen and a white tail. The white tail is really important as this species can easily be confused with the Common Carder Bee that is also brown, but has a brown or black tail.
Bees of all species are essential pollinators of some of our crops, especially our fruit and vegetables. Many species are in decline; and the loss of bees does not just mean less honey-but less homegrown food as well.
The Tree Bumblebee is a rare success story. If you want to be part of the move to protect our bees or for more information please see the Bumblebee Conservation Trust web site for more information.
A Rocha UK is actively involved in a number of community based conservation projects across the UK. Find out more about how we work and who we work with.