An exciting discovery during Insect Week

Rare bumblebee population discovered in Wales - Bumblebee Conservation Trust

(image: Lawrence-Harris / Bumblebee Conservation Trust)
(image: Lawrence-Harris / Bumblebee Conservation Trust)

A population of the very rarely sighted Ruderal bumblebee (Bombus ruderatus) was discovered in Wales this week by staff from the Bumblebee Conservation Trust.

The Ruderal bumblebee is one of our largest bumblebee species, and is thought to be largely restricted to the south of England, after a considerable decline through the 20th century.

Earlier this week two staff from the Bumblebee Conservation Trust found a number of newly emerged Ruderal bumblebee queens foraging on foxglove near Brechfa in central Carmarthenshire.

Looking at Welsh records it seems like none have been recorded in Carmarthenshire since 1973. The only Welsh sightings in recent decades are two or three scattered records of individual bumblebees in protected coastal locations. The general presumption amongst bumblebee experts was that the Ruderal bumblebee (B. ruderatus) had largely disappeared from Wales.

Lawrence Harris, Wales Project Development Officer for the Bumblebee Conservation Trust, said: “I am absolutely thrilled that we discovered the Ruderal bumblebee, such a rare and threatened species, so close to my home here in Carmarthenshire. It was exhilarating to discover not just one, but nine queen bumblebees in a small area where we assumed the species had disappeared.”

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Posted On: 23/06/2022

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