Bilberry Bumblebee Project

The Bilberry Bumblebee is a rare gem found locally on the dry heath of the Long Mynd. The spring queen specialises in bilberry flowers and the new queens emerging in August forage on the heather.

The Bilberry Bumblebee in your Garden project has been set up between the National Trust, the Stepping Stones Project and the Bumblebee Conservation Trust to map the distribution of the Bilberry Bumblebee on the Long Mynd. See known hotspots.

Thank you for your help this summer...

close up photograph of a ilberry Bumblebee by Steve Falk

Bilberry Bumblebee by Steven Falk

People living in the Strettons, the Stiperstones or the villages in between were in an ideal location to participate in the project by recording any sightings in their garden.

Project Report

We knew where the bilberries and heather are located on the Long Mynd, but we did not know where the Bilberry Bumblebee goes during the nectar gap. They have been recorded on thistles, clovers, bramble, thyme, raspberry, foxglove and wild roses.

Residents helped by looking for the Bilberry bumblebee in their gardens during June and July 2020.

ID sheet, Bilberry Bumblebee in your Garden

Bumblebee Conservation Trust website.

Flower preferences could provide valuable information for the National Trust and partners on how to improve the habitat for bumblebees in local meadows and inform local gardeners. It would also provide new data for the Bumblebee Conservation Trust, the only charity dedicated to saving this rare bumblebee.


Report your sightings

Once you have identified your bee as the bilberry bumblebee, please record your sighting, noting the date, temperature and location. If possible please include which flower the bumblebee was visiting and send a photograph.  

Email your reports to Download the Report Sheet, Bilberry Bumblebee in your Garden, which gives further details

Photographs are the best tool we have for positive identification. If you can take a photograph, keep your distance, as you can use zoom later to get a better look. Another trick is to take a video and then choose the best screen shot. Click here for photograph tips.

What happens to the information that you email?


Map to show Bilberry Bumblebee hotspots...

map to show Bilberry Bumblebee hotspots around the Strettons and Stiperstones project area

The map shows the key hotspots based on anecdotal evidence that the Bilberry Bumblebee can fly up to 250m from the nest site. If you live, or know someone who lives in the highlighted areas, you are in an ideal location. Please take a look in your garden and send us your results!

Since there is no documented evidence for how far the Bilberry Bumblebee will fly from the heath, anyone living in the general area is invited to participate. Who knows, we may discover something new and unexpected?



What happens to the information that you email?

By submitting your data you are consenting to it being stored collated and analysed by Debbie Vivers with assistance from the Stepping Stones project, Harper Adams University and the Bumblebee Conservation Trust. Your personal details will be stored securely on a password protected document. The biological record you make (ie. Your name, where and when you made the sighting) may be passed to the County Recorder for bees and wasps, whose role it is to submit all bee and wasp records for Shropshire to the Shropshire Ecological Data Network. It will not be shared with any other organisation. We will not identify individuals or individual locations in the published results.

If you wish to receive further emails about the project, please make this clear when you submit your record.