Most of us can recognise a bumblebee, they’re big and furry with stripy coats of black, white, red and yellow.
Recent surveys have shown a slow and steady decline in bumblebees across the UK and in Durham, the result, fewer bumblebees in the countryside and more dependence on flower rich parks and gardens to support the common bumblebee species.
From a possible 18 bee species, which once were found in County Durham, about six can be found commonly in gardens. What DWT would like to do is find out how reliant on gardens bumblebees are and where some of them are in the county.
There are two ways you can help Durham Wildlife Trust to map bumblebees.
1 Garden Bumblebee Survey
Of the six possible garden species two are very easy to identify as long as you look only in your garden. Ignore all the stripy bees and look for a black bumblebee with red tip to the abdomen this is the red tailed bumblebee Bombus lapidarious, any sandy/ginger coloured bumblebee which looks like a thread bare teddy bear is Bombus pascuorum the Common Carder Bee. There are the two bumblebees we’d like you to record.
All you have to do is, when you’ve seen either or both of the two bumblebee species illustrated, click the COMPLETE THE SURVEY NOW link below and send DWT the information.
2 Bee Counted
If you want to be even more helpful then you can take part in the bumblebee counting survey timed for National Insect Week between 25th June and 1st July 2012. If you can’t do the count in that week, don’t worry, do it any time between the beginning of May and the end of August 2012. What we’d like you to do is, walk once around your garden on a sunny day, counting all of the bumblebees you see including the stripy ones. Continue your walk out of the garden and walk for a further 20 minutes again counting all the bumblebees you see outside the garden. Then fill in the appropriate part of this postcard and post it back to us.
We will use the information to help conserve bumblebees in our region.
You can also download our ‘Bee Friendly’ Gardening Factsheet here