Bee a Bee Guardian

Monday 4th August 2014

On Thursday 7th August, Buglife – The Invertebrate Conservation Trust and the RSPB are holding a workshop to recruit volunteer Bee Guardians to help survey the special bees found at Canvey Wick nature reserve.

Canvey Wick is Buglife’s first nature reserve owned by the Land Trust and jointly managed by the RSPB and Buglife.

Canvey Wick is a haven for invertebrates with more than 1400 different species living on the site. In the 1970s, Canvey Wick was transformed from coastal grazing marsh to a 93ha oil refinery; however, the site was decommissioned in 1973 without ever opening. The site has been left largely untouched, developing into a unique mosaic of wildflower-rich grasslands, disturbed herb-rich sandy areas, ditches and wetland features.

The site is nationally important for its scarce bumblebees, including two of the UK’s most threatened bumblebees, the shrill carder bee (Bombus sylvarum) and the brown-banded carder bee (Bombus humilis).  However, a lack of management has led to some areas of the site becoming scrub dominated, threatening the wildflower-rich open habitats that are key to supporting its rare bumblebees. In 2013 RSPB and Buglife began managing 20ha of the site to deliver much needed habitat work that will encourage wildflower-rich open habitats.

Dr Sarah Henshall, Buglife’s Lead ecologist said, “Canvey Wick is home to some of our rarest bumblebees, we need volunteers to help us monitor the bees and keep an eye on how their numbers respond to the positive management work we are doing. As the amounts of wildflowers increase we hope the bees will too”

Buglife and the RSPB are seeking enthusiastic Bee Guardians to help them monitor how the bees change their use of the site in response to the exciting new management regime. Each Bee Guardian will be given full training by experts and be provided with identification guides and maps. The guardians will then be given a transect route to walk regularly across the reserve, recording where they encounter bumblebees and what flowers they are foraging from.

The Bee Guardian workshop is a great opportunity for the local community to explore the nationally important wildlife site on their doorsteps and to help contribute to this exciting new project.

The workshop will be held on 7 August 2014, 11am till 3pm. Places on the Bee Guardian workshop are limited and booking is essential.

Please contact Steve Roach on 01268 498620 or [email protected] to book a place.