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.
We need your help…
Bilberry Bumblebee by Steven Falk
If you live in the Strettons, the Stiperstones or the villages in between you are in an ideal location to participate in the project by recording any sightings in your garden.
We know where the bilberries and heather are located on the Long Mynd, but we do 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.
Perhaps you have some of these in your garden?
Here’s how you can help…
During June and July 2020, as often as you can, walk round your garden looking for bumblebees. Any dry, warm and calm day will do. The Bilberry Bumblebee is a cold adapted species, so does not require a hot day to forage. Once you feel confident, look at the colours on the bumblebee’s body to help identification, and download the ID sheet below to help you.
There is also plenty of information on the Bumblebee Conservation Trust website.
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.
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.
If enough people join in we may be able to estimate how far the bee can fly from areas of bilberry and which areas of dry heath are likely to have successful nests. This will help to establish target areas for bumblebee habitat management.
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.
Map to show Bilberry Bumblebee hotspots...
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.