Over recent years, there has been a dramatic decline of bumblebees and other pollinators with two bumblebee species having gone extinct since the start of the 20th century, and a further two species on the brink of extinction. One of these is the Shrill carder bee (Bombus sylvarum). Pollinators are essential to the maintenance of a healthy and productive farm. We depend upon them to pollinate pastures, legume and herb rich swards, wildflower meadows and not forgetting 75% of food crops.

A new project as part of the nationwide HLF funded Back from the Brink partnership, is hoping to reverse this downward trend and aid the recovery of the Shrill carder bee by increasing available habitat in and around the areas where it is still found today – in the South West, this is predominately in Southern Somerset near Somerton and Langport but also stretches down to the A303 and upwards towards the levels.

The Bumblebee Conservation Trust is working with farmers to incorporate easy and simple changes to management to provide continuous food sources and nesting sites for Shrill carders. For example, through the encouragement of wildflowers along tracksides, leaving small patches of long grass on unproductive land for nest sites or the introduction of rotational grazing to allow pastures to flower. All of which can have a huge impact on the survival of this species.

If this sounds like something you are interested in and would like to learn more about the project please visit: www.bumblebeeconservation.org

To arrange a free farm visit for no obligation advice on enhancing your land for the Shrill carder bee please contact project officer Daisy Headley on 07377875073 or email at: [email protected].