There are 24 species of bumblebee in Britain, of these seven are common and widespread. This means they are a manageable and easily recognised group (in comparison to the 253 other bee species in Britain). Bumblebees are well studied and we know that many populations are declining. If we know more about what is happening to bumblebees we may be able to take action to help them and other bees, all of which are important pollinators.
Why the bumblebee project?
Several members of NHSN and other organisations have been collecting bumblebee records for many years, but the information is patchy. We would like to encourage more observation and recording so that we can produce a status report about bumblebees in North East England in the Northumbrian Naturalist. You can access a map of Bombus species held by ERIC and explore your area in detail at http://bit.do/bombus
Figure 1 The lifecycle of bumblebees from Prys-Jones, O. E. and Corbet, S. A. (1987, 1991). Bumblebees. Pelagic Publishing.
There are 24 species of bumblebee in Britain, of these only seven are common and widespread. There are many published guides, Apps and online resources e.g.
It is really helpful to take photographs to support your identifications. If time allows then one picture from above, one from the side and one of the face are ideal, however a single photograph can sometimes be sufficient.
Submitting your records
In addition to the NHSN Bumblebee Project there are other schemes you may be interested in.
Dr Gordon Port (Gordon.Port@newcastle.ac.uk), Entomology Section-Lead