UK’s rarest bumblebee found at Victory Wood, Kent
We are super excited here in the SE, because, late in summer 2018, the UK’s rarest bumblebee, the shrill carder bee, was recorded at Victory Wood in Kent, a Woodland Trust owned site since 2004.
So named because of its high pitched buzz, this species is now only found in fragmented communities at a few sites in southern Wales and England. Due to its late emergence from hibernation and specialist feeding habits (requiring long tubular flowers), the population has been heavily impacted by both the early cutting and general loss of flower rich meadows. The semi-natural open ground habitat present within Victory Wood is perfect for this and many other invertebrate, bird and plant species.
The UK government is committed to taking action in relation to bee advocacy and addressing pollinator decline, and both national and local initiatives are steadily gaining momentum. The Bumblebee Conservation Trust are currently coordinating an ambitious project ‘Making a buzz for the coast’, which aims to restore bee friendly habitat along the Kent coastline. Victory Wood sits within a key range for monitoring rare bumblebees as it is located just over 2km from the north Kent coast.
This year the Woodland Trust will be recruiting experienced wildlife monitors to help record habitat and species diversity at Victory Wood. These volunteers will be offered additional training in bee identification, ecology and survey methodology to contribute data to the Bumblebee Conservation Trust project. Botanical surveys will also take place during early, mid and late flight season to identify the wildflowers that are most readily used for foraging. The information gathered will help inform how to best manage the open ground habitat for bees, whilst safeguarding a potential stronghold for rare species such as the shrill carder bee.
You can also get involved and find out more about bees at Victory Wood at our Volunteers Week get together event there on Friday 7th June, 2019 (head over to the Events section on Whittle to find out more detail!). There are also plans in the pipeline for some bee-themed bio-blitz events at Victory in August so keep your eyes open for news when we have it.
Links for those who would like to find out more about bumblebee conservation are here:
Many thanks to Claire Inglis, Assistant Site Manager (Kent) for sharing this news.