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Endangered bee gets a foothold in Somerset - National Trust

Shrill carder bee (Bumblebee Conservation Society & Daisy Headley)

The National Trust’s Lytes Cary Manor and estate in Somerset has been designated as one of two exemplary sites in England for the endangered Shrill carder bee.

The other site where the bee is doing well is the RSPB’s Rainham Marshes site in Essex.

The bumblebee is a priority species for conservation in England and Wales following significant declines since the 1950s.

Once widespread across southern England and Welsh lowlands, with localised populations in central and northern England, the species is now nationally scarce with populations restricted to five isolated locations in southern England and south Wales.

Like many of our bumblebees, numbers of this small, straw coloured bumblebee with distinctive black stripes, have suffered due to the huge losses of flower rich habitats since the end of the second world war.

The award, by the Bumblebee Conservation Trust and Buglife, recognises almost a decade of work from National Trust volunteers, staff and farm tenants at the 146 hectare (361 acre) mixed farming estate.

Named after its high pitched buzz, the charismatic Shrill carder bee is part of our natural heritage and along with other species provides crucial pollination for crops that were conservatively valued at £430M by the UK National Ecosystem Assessment.

Sinead Lynch, Conservation Manager at the Bumblebee Conservation Trust, said: “With the National Trust being one of the largest landowners of flower-rich grasslands, its involvement is crucial for the conservation and recovery of the species."

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