A thrill for the shrill in Cardiff

Wednesday 31st August 2016

The Shrill carder bee, Bombus sylvarum, the UK’s rarest bumblebee, was spotted at an Urban Buzz site in Cardiff.

Through Buglife’s Urban Buzz Project in Cardiff, the Bumblebee Conservation Trust ran a BeeWalk workshop at Hendre Lake in St Mellons. The event aimed to discover which species of bumblebee were in the area and to support individuals wishing to take part in their national recording scheme BeeWalk.

BeeWalkers play a vital role in monitoring how bumblebee populations change through time, detecting early warning signs of population declines, and- ultimately, inform how to manage the countryside.

Sinead Lynch, Conservation Officer, Wales for the Bumblebee Conservation Trust has been working to conserve the Shrill carder bee in Wales. She said “The record of Shrill carder bee at Hendre Lake is a really exciting find. This species is very threatened in the UK and its distribution is very limited. It is a distinctive bee with a high pitched buzz, it seemed to be enjoying the abundant wildflowers around Hendre Lake”

Michelle Bales, Cardiff’s Urban Buzz officer commented “Working closely with the parks team at Cardiff Council, we knew great work was already being conducted at Hendre Lake to manage the site for pollinators.  We really wanted to see what bumblebees the site supported and it’s great to see their hard work is paying off!”

Through the Urban Buzz project, Buglife have provided additional native wildflower seeds to enhance the site further for the future. As well as finding the Shrill Carder bee, other species recorded were brown-banded carder bee, white tailed, red tailed, buff tailed, garden and early bumblebees.

Cabinet Member for Environment, Cllr Bob Derbyshire, said:  “The wildflower areas we have been introducing across Cardiff are clearly a hit with nature as well as bringing some dazzling colour and contrast to the city.  Pollinators play a vital role in our food supply chain so it is really heartening to learn that the Urban Buzz site at Hendre Lake is supporting this particularly rare species of bumblebee.“

Buglife’s Cardiff Urban Buzz project, which is supported by Biffa Award, Garfield Weston Foundation and the Heritage Lottery Fund, works in partnership with the City of Cardiff Council to engage with local communities to create over 100 new places for our precious pollinators. They are enhancing public green spaces by planting flower-filled pollinator patches, wildflower meadows and providing new pollinator nesting sites.