Are bumblebees important?
Yes, they are! Gardeners have long known about the importance of bumblebees for pollination. These wild bees are iconic, charismatic and captivating insects and provide a vital “free-bee” role in pollinating much of the food on our plates, garden and wildflowers as well as fruits and seeds for birds and small mammals. They act as a useful and powerful indicator of the health of our environment but their numbers and distribution are declining.
There are currently 24 species of bumblebee in the UK, representing approximately 10% of the world’s bumblebee species. In the last 100 years, 3 species have become extinct and 8 of our remaining species are in serious decline.
These declines are due to several factors, but principally the loss of 97% of lowland wildflower meadows to intensive agriculture and urban development since the 1930’s. All bumblebees need are flowers to provide nectar for energy and pollen for protein and a home to live, a place to hibernate and a place to meet other bumblebees.
The Bumblebee Conservation Trust (BBCT) was established in 2006 to address the decline in the UK’s bumblebee populations. Our focus is to stop the extinction of our very rarest bumblebees and to create a long term sustainable future for all bumblebee species. We are the only organisation in the UK solely dedicated to reversing the decline of native bumblebees.