Species Champions: Bilberry bumblebee

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Bilberry bumblebees are most often found in the Scotland’s iconic moorlands. Its Latin name is Bombus monticola. This loosely translates as ‘the booming mountaineer’, so perhaps it could be described as the Cameron McNeish of the insect world! It certainly is a gorgeous looking bee, with an orange-red abdomen and two yellow stripes on the thorax. Queen bumblebees need pollen from bilberry flowers to start off their nests in the spring, hence the name. They are also known as blaeberry bumblebee in Scotland.

Action Needed

  1. Help promote action to reduce the impacts of climate change
  2. Help raise awareness of our BeeWalk citizen science programme, which records essential data about bumblebee populations.
  3. Promote well-managed moorlands with a diversity of flowers, not just heather.
  4. Ensure the Pollinator Strategy for Scotland (a priority of the Scottish Biodiversity Strategy) is fully implemented.

Threats

Climate change: it thrives in colder areas and is dependent on species-diverse moorlands, in particular where there is bilberry and heather. It is therefore very vulnerable to climate warming and loss of suitable habitat. Overburning and over-grazing are symptoms of badly managed moorland, which reduces the floristic diversity of these fragile ecosystems and damages the soil structure.

MSP Species Champion

Graham Simpson

Member for: Central Scotland

Party: Scottish Conservative & Unionist Party

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