Northern Ireland threatened bee report

Sphecodes gibbus (c) Steven Falk

The Northern Ireland Threatened Bee Report examines the status of threatened bees in Northern Ireland. The report has assessed the status of 21 of Northern Ireland’s most threatened wild bees and aims to focus efforts to conserve these species.

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Wild bees and other pollinators face many pressures in our modern landscapes, from habitat loss, fragmentation and degradation, to pesticides and pollution, climate change, and disease. Moreover, these pressures rarely act in isolation. They have caused severe declines in wild bees and other pollinators across the UK, raising concerns about the under-pollination of many wildflowers and food crops, and wider biodiversity and ecosystem stability. The Northern Ireland Threatened Bees Report identifies our most threatened bee species and reveals trends in these species. The report has identified species losses across Northern Ireland

What is the role of Northern Ireland?

Northern Ireland is home to many nationally rare and threatened bee species and supports the largest population in the UK of Northern Colletes (Colletes floralis) a UK BAP species (UK Biodiversity Action Plan). Ten species included in this report are deemed to be a conservation priority on the island of Ireland and two are nationally scarce species in Britain, Red-tailed cuckoo bumblebee (Bombus rupestris) and Dull-headed Blood-bee (Sphecodes ferruginatus). Northern Ireland has a wide variety of ecologically diverse habitats including calcareous grassland, blanket bog, limestone pavement and dry heath that many wild bee species. There are also pockets of biodiverse rich fens, marshes and reedbeds scattered across the country and large areas of ecologically important sand dune systems on the north and east coasts.


Better understanding Northern Ireland’s wild bees

The Northern Ireland Threatened Bee Report aims to increase our understanding of threatened bees in Northern Ireland – including their life-cycles and distribution – to better inform local and national conservation efforts. It also recommends a series of actions to support the conservation of threatened species and is therefore a means to support delivery of the outcomes listed within the All-Ireland Pollinator Plan.


The Northern Ireland Threatened Bee Report works alongside our B-Lines Initiative, helping wild bees and other pollinating insects by connecting and restoring flower-rich habitats across the countryside. B-Lines have now been mapped across all of Northern Ireland and are a resource to be used by everyone to prioritise and target action on the ground. By linking these projects and working with other organisations and landowners, Buglife aims to create more suitable habitat and reverse the decline of threatened bees in Northern Ireland.

Our thanks to the Bees Wasps and Ants Recording Scheme (BWARS), Centre of Environmental Data and Recording (CEDaR), National Biodiversity Data Centre (NBDC), National Biodiversity Network (NBN) and numerous individuals who contributed to the report.

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