There was a buzz around Carmel last Friday as a flight of the bumblebee enthusiasts made a beeline to the reserve. Busy as bees, they were a hive of activity swarming through woods and glades. …. Given the subject matter cringe worthy bee idioms and puns were going to be inevitable. Look at it this way at least they’re done with now and are not going to hang about over the rest of this blog like the sword of Damacles.
The Grasslands Trust’s “Beeline” project at Carmel aims, in partnership with the Bumblebee Conservation Trust, aims to manage grassland and woodland habitats at Carmel that are essential for the conservation of bumblebee species. To this end The Grasslands Trust is ensuing that the combination of woodlands, glades, hay meadows and permanent pasture on the reserve provides habitats for a wide range of nectar producing plants. The diversity and availability of these flowering plants will then provide a source of nectar throughout all the months of the year that bumblebees are active and seeking food.
In addition the expected increase in bumblebees, both in numbers and species will mean increased opportunities for pollination and ultimately therefore grassland flowers re-establishing themselves across the semi-improved fields on the reserve.
Part of this project involves training volunteers to identify bumblebee species and to undertake bumblebee surveys both on the reserve and at other sites. Such surveys will contribute to our understanding of how bumblebee species are surviving and hopefully thriving under our management. To this end eighteen participants attended Friday’s course which was led by Sinead Lynch of Bumblebee Conservation Trust. The weather couldn’t have been better and a good selection of bumblebee and other bee species were observed. However even though conditions were near perfect very few bumblebees were actually to be seen. An indication perhaps of how precarious the situation is for this group of insects even in protected areas with suitable habitat such as Carmel NNR.
*no bumblebees were harmed during Beeday
By Charli Evans, Community and Volunteering Officer, Carmel