Shrill Carder Bee Project

The Shrill carder bee is one of the rarest bumblebees in the UK. In the last 50 years, it has declined dramatically and is threatened with extinction in the UK.

In light of this, an exciting project was undertaken to conserve this charismatic bee in England. Buglife working in partnership with the  Bumblebee Conservation Trust  as part of the ground breaking ‘Back from the Brink’ Programme.

The project focused on the two areas of England where Shrill carder bee still occurs: Somerset & Wiltshire and the Thames Gateway. The main aims of the project were to:

  • Establish the current distribution of Shrill carder bee in England
  • Set up bumblebee monitoring at key Shrill carder bee sites through volunteer recruitment and training
  • Provide habitat management advice to land managers to improve habitat connectivity
  • Engage with local communities to raise the profile of the bee
  • Produce a species recovery plan for Shrill carder bee

Shrill carder bee facts

  • Scientific name: Bombus sylvarum
  • One of the rarest bumblebee species in Britain
  • Shrill carder bees have a distinctive high-pitched buzz
  • Shrill carder bee colonies have around 50-70 workers
  • Forage plants include Black horehound, Narrow-leaved bird’s-foot trefoil and Red clover
  • This is a long-tongued bumblebee species
BombusSylvarumMaleRainhamMarshes2013fPS(c)Falk-Buglife BombusSylvarumMaleRainhamMarshes2013fPS(c)Falk-Buglife

The Shrill carder bee  Back From The Brink project is a partnership between Buglife and Bumblebee Conservation Trust.

The project is part of Back From The Brink supported by the Lottery Heritage Fund, the People’s Postcode Lottery and several other funders.

How can you help?

We’re looking for volunteers in Essex and Kent to help with survey and monitoring work in areas where Shrill carder bee occurs.

If you own or manage any land in the project area and want to help to make a difference to the conservation of Shrill carder bee and other pollinators then we would love to hear from you.

If you’re keen to get involved or would like to find out more about the project please get in touch: e-mail

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