Our charismatic little bumblebees are in trouble. In the past 70 years 98% of the UK’s vital grasslands have been lost, leaving bumblebees hungry and homeless, leading to two species becoming nationally extinct and several others in dramatic decline.
The Bumblebee Conservation Trust (BBCT) is the only UK charity dedicated solely to supporting the conservation of bumblebees. Their vision is to create communities and countryside rich in bumblebees and colourful wildflowers, supporting a diversity of wildlife and habitats for everyone to enjoy.
Bumblebees are a keystone species, playing a unique and crucial role in the way the ecosystem functions. Pollinating around 80% of native wildflower species and a significant number of the crops we rely on, we benefit from the ‘free-bee’ service they provide, which is estimated to be worth around £691 million to the UK economy annually .
Conservationists have long recognised the importance of wild bees and their habitats, but the public also values them, not only for their intrinsic value as an interesting wild species, but because we rely on them for much of our food production, and for flower pollination.
Many are now realising the huge effect reduced pollination will have if bees do not receive the protection they need, and want to help. In fact, a recent yougov.co.uk poll showed that British people consider the decline in bee numbers to be the most serious environmental issue (85%), and showed that bees are the one endangered species most people would save (57%).
“Our natural ecosystems would be radically altered and much poorer without insect pollinators and in the UK, the predominant pollinators are bumblebees” - Prof Dave Goulson, a Sting in the Tale, 2013.
What do the BBCT do?
Support the conservation of all bumblebees, rare or abundant - they aim to ensure that populations of these species have a long-term future in the UK. Our commoner bumblebee species contribute significantly to our economy through the ecosystem service that their pollination of crops provides. Pollination is vital for many of the nation’s wild plants and it helps to maintain affordable five-a-day fruit and vegetables. Bumblebees also support the wider ecosystem through pollinating a diversity of wild plant species.
The BBCT raise awareness and increase understanding about bumblebees and the social, economic, environmental and cultural benefits which they and other pollinators provide.
Much enjoyment can be gained from an appreciation of bumblebees. Their pollination service is also a clear and compelling example of the link between biodiversity and human health and welfare. We aim to increase the knowledge of the general public and policy makers such that they appreciate and value bumblebees and biodiversity more generally.
Ensure BBCT is sustainable, fit for purpose, and able to respond quickly to challenges and change.
BBCT's work to support the conservation of bumblebees and awareness of the importance of bumblebees can only be achieved if the organisation is fit for purpose and able to respond to new challenges. We aim to ensure that the organisation is sustainable and effective.
Please see their website for more information -